Blog: 10 Rules for Avoiding Distractors

10 Rules for Avoiding Distractors

Teach students how to avoid disruptions to their online learning.


Rule No. 1:


Sit in a quiet space where you won’t get interrupted (much). Your bedroom, a corner in the living room, your parents’ bedroom (with their permission), even a heated space in a garage may work. If you can’t find a space, get a large box and place it around all four sides of yourself, leaving an opening at the top and sitting directly on the floor. Or go into a small inside play tent if you have one. This will give you the feeling that you are separated, and will contribute to a greater sense of quiet and privacy while you work.


Rule No. 2:


Manage and make decisions about your time. When confronted with a distraction, ask yourself:

  • How much time do I have left to do this task?
  • Is this distraction going to make me late or keep me on task?
  • Does the distraction have anything to do with the learning?
  • Is it necessary to link out to this, or can it wait?


Rule No. 3:


Limit your time for other digital tasks like gaming and social media to one hour a day (or thereabouts).


Rule No. 4:


Turn your phone off – including vibrate – or turn it over so that you cannot see any incoming calls, texts, or other alerts. If this does not work and you find yourself checking it, put it away entirely somewhere, like in your bookbag or a desk drawer, so that you do not see it.


Rule No. 5:


When working directly with a peer, such as in a peer exchange or on a project, lower your screen halfway, or close it entirely.


Rule No. 6:


Lower your screen or shut your laptop when you need to pay attention to the teacher, or give your attention to something else such as a smartboard presentation or video. Remember: you can’t give 100% of your attention to two things at the same time. 


Rule No. 7:


Disable pop-up alerts from email and social media when working on your computer. If they do pop up, do not check them.


Rule No. 8:


Take short breaks to check your email, catch up on news or social media, or get a snack. This will offset the urge to give in to an unnecessary distractor.


Rule No. 9:


Ignore all pop-up ads! There is no place in the classroom for those. Rememember the cookies? They’ll keep following you, and those ads will find you again later.


Rule No. 10:


Make a To Do list of the online activities you need to complete. Here are some examples (press the play button):


  • Send yesterday’s homework to the teacher.
  • Review the next ELA assignment’s questions and prepare to read the text.
  • Read the text.
  • Research the question answers in the text and online.
  • Finish the math questions I started yesterday and upload to Google docs
  • Login and send my partner my portion of the Humanities project.
  • Check the Teacher’s Dashboard for today’s homework and bookmark the links I will need.