Home Distractions That Hinder Students’ Productivity
By Paige Mitchell, Guest Writer
Photo from Unsplash
Everyone can benefit from a carved out space at home that’s dedicated to focus and concentration. Whether you’re a parent who wants to provide an A+ study zone for your child or if you, yourself, could use a more productive home office, here are five improvements you can make to minimize distractions and boost productivity at home.
1. Time it
We have the tendency to turn to our devices after a long day’s work. Kids rush straight to the TV while adults scroll through social media. This short break can quickly turn into an hour-long break and soon you’re eating dinner at 8 o’clock, you’re fighting with kids in the bath, and nobody gets as many Z’s as they should.
Many kids find it easier to stay in an educational mindset by getting started on homework before turning on the television or tablet. However, making this change in your child’s after-school schedule won’t be easy.
It can be a bit more bearable with an energizing after-school snack waiting on the counter. A star chart might also be motivating. It’s also a lot easier when the whole family gets on board, parents included. Try a multi-device charging station to dock all devices in one central location during study time.
Speaking of time, some folks work really well under pressure and on a deadline. If this sounds like you, try setting an egg timer and challenge yourself – or your child – to complete each task within a specific amount of time. This might minimize procrastination.
2. Tidy up
Eighty-four percent of people report feeling stressed from a disorganized home. From anxiety to unhealthy eating habits, clutter can cause health issues. The task of decluttering can seem mighty but you can chip away at it slowly.
First, choose your workspace. It could be an actual home office desk or a kitchen countertop, as long as it’s comfortable. Next, tidy up. Keep food, receipts, to-do lists, junk mail, car keys, and permission slips off and in their respectable places.
While it’s important to clear the work surface first, you should also take a long, hard look at the overall environment. Are kids’ and pet toys littering the floor? Are there jackets and bags sitting in the corner or hung lazily on the back of a chair? Consider each piece of clutter just another distraction your saving yourself from.
3. Tune in
There’s nothing more distracting than listening to your siblings or friends play nearby while you have to sit still and do homework. To nip this distraction in the bud, choose a work surfaces out of sight from the playground or backyard. If neighbors are playing outside, close the windows if neighbors are playing outside. If you have other children, enforcing quiet time can teach kids to be respectful and considerate of others.
For those who are hypersensitive, listening to a ceiling fan squeak or a faucet drip can get under anyone’s skin let alone someone who can’t concentrate in noisy environments. Add these home repairs to your to-do list this weekend or call a contractor who can get it fixed ASAP.
On the contrary, silence could distracting for frequent daydreamers or those with vibrant imaginations. White noise or soft music might stimulate a learner’s mind. If that’s the case, try classical music or a sound machine.
4. Feel it
Some distractions also lie within. Hyperactivity, sleep deprivation, and snack cravings can be just as distracting as the clutter, devices, and noises around us.
Parents can stock the pantry with healthy options or prepare nutritious snacks that will hush growling tummies until dinnertime. An easy, one-size-fits-all idea is cutting up fruits, veggies, nuts, and cheese all together on a cutting board. That way, everyone can grab and go as they please without procrastinating by staring at the pantry or refrigerator. This also benefits you, yourself, are trying to work after kids get home from school. Having a snack plate ready will prevent kids from tugging at you with their hunger pangs.
After homework is finally done and put away, corral kids outside to play, release some energy, and get some fresh air. If your young student isn’t the outdoorsy type, ask them to play fetch with the dog or join them on a walk as a family. Even if just for 15 to 20 minutes, the outdoors presents quality oxygen, a decent dose of vitamin D, and good exercise for all.
The last ingredient to a healthy lifestyle is getting a restful night’s sleep. Did you know, 75 percent of high school students alone get less than eight hours of sleep per night? Poor sleep can wreak havoc on a developing body and lead to memory issues, a lack of attention, and mood swings. Students ages five to 10 should get 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
5. Find inspiration
One last trick to creating a truly productive at-home learning environment is to make it, dare we say, fun. Studying gets a bad rep but it’s merely a matter of perspective. To get the most out of a home office, it should spark some excitement, get creative juices flowing, and stimulate the student.
If you have a dedicated home office, decorate it with colorful but abstract artwork. Personalize the space with family photos or your favorite decoration. If the space is looking a bit stale, add a potted houseplant. Get organized with a calendar, some colorful pens, and a new notebook. Fidget spinners seem to be working for some students too.
Get your student involved in taking ownership of their learning environment and study habits by creating a vision board together this weekend. Make sure the environment is comfortable too. Take your child shopping for a new office chair or desk lamp. Creating their own workspace could make them feel proud, giving them the confidence to come back time and time again.