Some have spent the last year twiddling their thumbs hoping for a return to normalcy. Others have seen this downtime as a valuable opportunity to get certified, finish a degree, take courses, or otherwise level-up their skill set for the future as we enter the second decade of the 21st century. Of course, due to the pandemic, most people aren’t doing their studying in traditional classrooms but are rather taking courses online. Some of these courses are even free, such as these amazing examples from the Khan Academy. But it hardly matters whether you’re paying for the course or getting it for free – if you can’t stay focused on the topic at hand, it’s all for naught.
Online Courses are Awesome and Even Free! But You Gain Nothing without Concentration
Everyone has their own technique for studying; sometimes it involves rituals such as sharpening pencils, laying out a workspace, or even doing some light meditation before beginning – but prepare as we might, there is a dark force pulling like an electric magnet on our consciousness. You’re doing your course online, which by definition means you are using the internet. The internet is not designed for concentration, in fact, quite the opposite. What you need is an app blocker for studying.
The first step is to simply download a blocking app – we recommend BlockSite due to its all-inclusive features and the fact that it’s free – then install it on whatever browser you use as well as your Android or iOS devices. Afterward, you set up a list of websites that are on your “block list” …and that’s it! –You’re good to go. Almost miraculously you are now spared from the temptation of distracting sites because they are blocked. Of course, you are the one doing the blocking, so the choices are up to you. Be honest with yourself when setting up the websites you choose to block and don’t cheat. Remember: the goal is to get your studying done.
This blocking feature is not permanent, you set the parameters and the time frames for how long you wish to block something. For example, you could block YouTube, but that site may be a resource you need for studying. So, you could instead have the app block YouTube for an hour at the start of each study day to avoid the temptation of watching unrelated stuff earlier in the day. After you’ve gotten into the study subject for an hour, for example, being allowed back on YouTube might not present such a big problem. These and so many more choices are all yours to make by using a bocking app.
Resist Temptations and Stop Relying on Willpower! “Blocking Apps” Help You Take Control
Anyone who does any research into social media, for example, will quickly see how insidious the techniques used are for keeping you hooked. There is a reason most things on the internet are free. Facebook, Google searches, YouTube videos, and much more don’t ask for payment upfront. We might not pay with money but we do pay with our time; which happens to be the only resource that is invaluable. Like substance addicts or gamblers, we are lured back to another hit of whatever it is that keeps us enmeshed in the web. From cat videos to an Instagram scroll, the distractions of the digital age are the primary enemy of online studying.
You can try willpower. It works for a precious minority. Most humans, however, are extremely susceptible to distraction. Luckily, there is an option for those of us with clay feet. The old adage of “fighting fire with fire” comes to mind here. Blocking apps or productivity apps are all the rage these days as they take the element of willpower out of your hands and essentially force you to concentrate for a specific time.
Imagine How Much More You’ll Learn by Removing Digital Distractions
Reputable international research companies note that the average person will spend as much as four hours – if not more – a day on their mobile device and then perhaps even more hours on a laptop or iPad. This equates to you spending as much as a quarter of the time you’re awake each day on some sort of device! It’s incredible when we break it down. It’s near mind-blowing to recognize the amount of time is that’s being wasted on the so-called “top five:” Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube. By simply downloading a blocking app you can stay focused by limiting the content you know to be most distracting.
As the wise saying goes: “For everything, there is a time,” which includes a time to play and a time to study. On the app, you can schedule certain chunks of time – for example, the days before a big exam –as “study days.” Should you during these days be tempted to meander over to distracting content, a friendly reminder will pop up and send you back to Studyville.
These temporary restrictions are incredibly liberating. Think about the hours you spend studying online and then do an honest diagnostic. How much of that time was actually spent studying? How much was spent looking at video tutorials only tangentially related to the topic at hand? How much time was wasted? Time is the one resource that cannot be purchased, cannot be sold, and cannot be reproduced. Make 2021 the year you decide to reclaim your time by filtering out websites and distractions with the power of blocking apps.
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