Studying for finals, midterms, and even regular tests can be inherently linked with stress. In fact, where stress is already built into a situation where you need to call up all the important information that you’ve learned in each of several classes over the course of several months, the last thing students need to do is add to the stress of important tests, midterms and finals, right? Well, unfortunately, many students inadvertently do just that.

1. Cell Phone

Cell Phone

Smartphones have redefined the term “distracting” and have made it to the Top 1 Gadget to Avoid While Focusing on Coursework list. Text messages, email alerts, phone calls, app notifications, and rage-filled birds all beg for your attention. Unless you are using your smartphone to contribute to your online college course, you are probably just using it to waste valuable study time.

2. The Vacuum

Vacuums rank 2nd in the Top 10 Gadgets to Avoid While Focusing on Coursework list. Clean freaks everywhere will probably cringe at this concept, but put down the vacuum cleaner. If you usually distract yourself with cleaning tasks to avoid coursework, then make sure to remove all cleaning gadgets from your study area. People always looks for distractions, and with cleaning temptation lingering, it might be easy to make an argument for tidying up when really you should be studying hard.

3. The iPod

Music players like the iPod rank 3rd in the list. According to a study conducted by a team at the University of Wales Institute of Cardiff in the United Kingdom, background music can interfere with your ability to memorize new information. While the research also shows that certain types of studying can benefit from a soundtrack, you should opt for mellow music and avoid sound entirely if your coursework relies on memory-based tasks.

4. The Remote Control

The remote control for television ranks 4th in the list.Many academic catastrophes began with the words, “Just one more episode.” Remote controls make that episode far too easy to reach. However, research from Shawn Achor shows that simply removing the batteries from the remote and putting them in a desk or nightstand was enough to mute the remote’s desperate call for attention.

5. The Shake Weight

Exercising gadgets like the Shake Weight rank 5th in the list. Exercising helps relieve stress, but it is also a way to distract you from focusing on course work. While it may seem like a good idea to postpone finishing class work in order to work out, it will only prolong what you need to finish—stressing you out even more.

6. The Handheld Games

The Handheld Games

Handheld game consoles rank 6th on the list. While “Game Boys” may not exist anymore, those beloved old bricks have been replaced by a host of handheld gaming devices. Put down your PSP, PSP Slim, and PSP Go; your Game Boy DS, DSi, and 3DS; your PlayMG; your Sony Xperia; and, yes, even your iPod Touch.

7. The Webcam

Webcams rank 7th in the list.Webcams make talking face-to-face with someone a reality even when he or she is not in the same room. Programs like Skypethat use webcam technology make staying in touch with family and friends easy and free. But unless you are using your webcam to connect to a study-buddy, you should turn it off and focus on the coursework at hand.

8. The Wii Console

Multiplayer gaming consoles like the PlayStation and Wii rank 8th in the list. Thanks to Netflix, multiplayer gaming, and online marketplaces, video game consoles now offer a practically unlimited lineup of distractions. If you find yourself falling into the trap of “one quick game” before your coursework, consider storing your controller in a different room from the console itself.

9. TV

Many people come home from a day’s work and “relax” in front of the tube. Little do they know that the rapid flickering, the constant changes in images, and the glowing pulse on the screen actually reduces their energy level.

On the other hand, if they were to go out and jog or have a workout in the gym (or write a new Web page ;-), they would become more energized. Ironic, isn’t it?

Watching TV also inhibits your imagination and has a numbing effect on your mind. This is because TV viewers passively take in information as opposed to actively doing research and thinking about what they are watching. You sit back and watch what is essentially somebody else’s imagination.


  • For starters, you could throw away the remote control. It would amaze you how much less time you’d spend in front of the tube if you had to get up to change the channel or adjust the volume every five minutes.
  • OK, if that is too much, you could give the remote control to a friend for, say, 21 days. At least you could realize how silly it would be to visit your friend and ask him or her for your remote control…
  • What about a TV-watching plan where you choose to watch only certain shows in a week. You watch only these shows and immediately turn off the tube when they are over. It might be hard at times due to the fear of loss, but this method served as my first step towards successfully avoiding TV.
  • When you are eating, turn off the box at all times.
  • How about making it a point to devote at least 15 hours a week to reading?
  • Ultimately, if all that fails, remember that you can always give your TV to a charity!

10. Messenger

We understand that you need your computer when studying, but you don’t really need the messenger, these include Skype, Facebook and MSN. If you don’t want to automatically log in to Messenger when your computer boots up, then you should disable it. Fortunately, by learning how to disable Windows Live Messenger, you will still be able to log in when you need to. We recommend that you disable these distractions before your study period begins.


Remember: While remembering the importance of a test’s outcome can be a good motivator for studying, too much focus on the outcome can backfire. If you’re the type of person who is already pretty conscientious, and the idea of doing poorly on the test is starting to cause significant test anxiety, it may be time to shift your focus. This is because being overly-anxious about a test’s outcome can actually cause you to do poorly, or to score lower than you normally would. To avoid obsessing, try some positive affirmations, visualizations, or tips from this article on overcoming test anxiety.

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