Being able to keep our focus amidst our daily routines is a difficult task for most of us. Whether studying for an exam or talking to a couple of friends, we are prone to inevitable distractions. Modern living invades our focus and this is a major concern for our attention span on important issues.

Scientists talk about two varieties of distractions: sensory and emotional. The sensory include everything from the cute guy at 3 O’clock you can’t stop staring at, the gossip that won’t wait until the end of the class, the girl who keeps playing with her extremely long hair in class, the buzz on your phone signifying a new message that your hands itch to reply, and If one of those emails you’ve received happens to trigger a reaction – annoyance, anger, or  anxiety- that reaction will instantly become the focus of your thoughts.

In our rapid growing society, we are saturated with numerous kinds of technology, famous amongst them happen to be the Internet and Social Media. Love it or hate it, they have become a part and parcel of our everyday lives and activities. A slew of students can hardly study for 2 hours without spending 30 or more minutes stalking people online and dwelling on their thoughts.

Students in EMU are not exempted from all these obstacles to attention, they attest to the fact that they get distracted often. This affirmative assertion materialized in an interview with Gundem Newspaper correspondent, Jemimah Atii with EMU students.

In the interview, a few of them confessed that their phones, the internet and social media are their biggest distractions. When a student wants to procrastinate homework or studying, they turn to the internet for a source of entertainment. Priorities like schoolwork and homework are pushed to lower priorities because of the internet.

01_16233448_08e271_2565245aAyanda Mabaso said, “After replying a message I received on Whatsapp, I move on to other applications to see what’s new online, even though class can be interesting, it’s hard to pay attention to just one thing for a whole class period, not to mention with a buzzing phone in the background calling one’s attention”.

We also spoke with Mapesho Mayondi, an undergraduate student. She said, “Games on my phone happen to be my biggest distractions, when I can no longer pay attention, they are my next option”.

The internet and texting are not the only distractions. Our thoughts wander a lot and leave us absent minded when they do. We all live in Wonderland sometimes, and some of us stay there for longer than intended. Vuyiswa Dlamini said “I get random thoughts often, sometimes I look at people in class and make caricatures of them in my mind or I imagine the future.” A few other students mentioned online shopping, sleep and boring lecturers as their own distractions.

Avoiding distractions is difficult but not impossible, it is up to us to figure out what our distractions are and find out ways to curb them. However, prioritizing and keeping our minds focused on the things we need to achieve should be our first step to overcoming distractions.

By Jemimah Atii