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I used to be a very focused student in school. But after coming to college after i got access to unlimited internet,freedom my concentration has fallen very steeply. Even while studying for my final exams and even when there is no more time to waste i start opening facebook every 25-30 minutes,or open some other website and start browsing.

Not only while in such critical situations,but in general i keep opening facebook,check the number of likes,or just keep on refreshing the page. I want a solution to be focused on my task while i am working , increase my productivity.

I do not want to force anything like deleting the facebook account and all(as a matter or fact i tried it many times,i find some other site to pass time). I want the concentration and focus to come naturally. I have seen many questions related which suggest some vague solutions like stay focused, don't think about anything else ,try to like your work e.t.c which seem to be very vague solutions to the problem.

I tried meditating,but as i did not know the proper way to meditate most of the times it did not prove useful. So if you feel meditation is the best technique suggest some books,links e.t.c anything which help me start meditating in the proper way.

The main problem is that i am about to finish my graduation. Though i always used to be one of the toppers while i was in school, my performance dipped in college. I do not want to continue my education in such a manner as i am not happy and satisfied with it. Please give some concrete suggestions. PS: In one of the question a chrome extension was suggested which filters our browsing suggestions. It was useful but, that was like forcing myself to do the work. As i already mentioned i want the concentration to come naturally

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Answer: Use Google+ instead! – Mateen Ulhaq Dec 11 '11 at 5:52 "If you are trying to avoid wasting time on Facebook, etc., why do you have it so close by?" – NeuroFuzzy Feb 17 '14 at 1:30
If you wish to understand the reasoning behind your distraction in depth, read the book "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains" by Nicholas Carr. – unixunited Nov 3 '14 at 2:32

10 Answers 10

First, I want to commend you for wanting to be focused naturally. Hold on this thought.

We always prefer to do what is easier, more fulfilling, more satisfying, or more rewarding. Currently, Facebook and the internet are at the top of your list. Studying is not making it, although you said that you realize the value of education.

One main characteristic of successful people is their ability to aim further in the future. They realize that the present is becoming past very soon. They invest the present for the sake of future benefits. We see everyday people who ignore the future to enjoy the present. The smoker who prefers enjoying smoking today and ignore the possibility of cancer in the future. Another example is the person who drinks all night without thinking about the morning headache or the possible health problems in the future.

Frankly, I prefer Facebook over studying. With Facebook, I feel connected and on top of current events. We are social animals. On the other hand, studying is an isolation from the world. Books are not people, they don't interact. Also studying is hard. It requires more concentration. I am tested every minute. I am wondering if I really understood the material. How will I do on the exam? Studying is stressful. Who wants it.

If you want to naturally prefer studying over Facebook, you need to reprogram your mind to aim further in the future and be more excited about longer term goals and benefits.

How to program your mind to aim far? Allow your imagination to wonder in your future. Imagine yourself a year from now, 5 years, 10 years, and 40 years. Where do you want to be then? What kind of people you want to have as family, friends, and neighbors? Where do you want to be professionally? All these thoughts about the future will reprogram your mind to prefer activities that have longer term benefits. Make this images part of your daily life, forever. Be a daydreamer in the future land.

In summary, convince yourself that tomorrow is more important than today. Today is disappearing soon, invest it.

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I am an avid facebook user and aware of the type of problem you are running into. I just started using the Pomodoros method and think that you would find it useful. The key part is 25 min of focused uninterrupted work followed by 5 min of break. Checking into facebook for every break will still allow you to feel connected but will also restrict facebook use to a specific time. You are also likely to get more done if you really focus for 25 min and then give yourself a break.

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I had the same issue with instant distraction that internet offer to us. At the begining it will be difficult to switch your mind as Ali Habbak suggested. I install a tool on Chrome browser called Stayfocusd. You can block website and allow a limited time during your study timeframe. You will quickly see that you will not consume all your time allowed.

Or you can make a better step, close your facebook account.

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There's a similar extension for Firefox called Leechblock too – Matthew Lock Apr 18 '12 at 23:37

Ali Habbak had great points, I just want to add something

The most difficult part of doing any job is to start it.

But when you start it you gradually try to get focused on it and accomplish it.

Try to start the job. For example, to do an assignment, opening the word office and writing a few words is a good start or just bringing together the book, pen and paper....

As Habbak said, we usually prefer to do the easy work. opening a website is very easy and rewarding, make it difficult! A tool like LeechBlock for Firefox is an add-on which block a set of websites and even can disable the add-on and setting access through a period. it makes it hard to check the site and you may ignore it.

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You can deactivate your account for a week or two. This will restrict you for a week to use it. And after activating your account again you would not spending much time on it as this will kill the habit of facebooking you do regularly.

I had done this practice and I don't use facebook more than 10 mins a day.

And again if you want to get better in studies start using websites which are related to your subjects. See stack exchange have lots of question answering websites which are help

Doing so will fulfill the habit of your social touch and grow better in your subjects and interests. And you will make valuable friends who have got skills.

Take a look at the bottom of this page to choose some of the subjects.

And yes I also went thorough the same phase you are going now.

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Facebook's business model is to take and hold your concentration in order to sell you adverts. It is the reason that Facebook is formatted in a list that it is so sticky because there is always the chance that a new thing will be there but conversely stuff also disappears quickly so it is pretty useless for harnessing the flow of information and building on it. Hence you need to understand what Facebook is deeper than just your relationship to it. Understanding the motivations of Facebook as a business may help to redirect your attention to build value for yourself as opposed to building value for Facebook. In addition, concentration is everything these days - it is the main industry of the moment - understand this fact and you will understand that in order to survive you need to keep your awareness- this is like a muscle that you need to train. A way to train it is to practice keeping concentration on something boring like a candle for some time rather than having to keep being stimulated by 'exciting' things.

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As mentioned above, for Windows there's Cold Turkey (haven't tried it but it looks great)

For Mac (OSX) there's SelfControl (simple but powerful)

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Use can improve concentration when you can reduce distraction. Try this;

  • ManicTime : Track where you are spending your time on computer. Disable unnecessary sites (like facebook, twitter) or enable for limited time.
  • Pomodoro : Work for easily achievable target i.e. 25 mins and take 5 mins break then. It's a physiological technique which automatically improves your concentration.
  • Kanban : Manage all tasks. Limit tasks in progress. Easily switch among the tasks.
  • : Don't force yourself to remember what to do next. easily note & schedule your tasks.
share|improve this answer is a bit gratuitous: there are literally hundreds of apps on all platforms that will allow you to not "force yourself to remember what to do next. easily note & schedule your tasks" – Dan Rosenstark Oct 15 '14 at 16:06
agree. the reason to mention it after few comparison with other apps and its features. But it'll definitely depend on user. – Amit Gupta Oct 16 '14 at 12:27

For Windows users, ColdTurkey is an amazing solution for this kind of problem.

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What is ColdTurkey? Where can you find it? Why is it an amazing solution? Please edit your answer and give more complete information. – Dennis S. Feb 14 '14 at 16:14

The best way for me to avoid wasting time at work is to cut it out completely during work hours. Going back and forth between "allowed" time for facebook is very destructive since I'll constantly have mental fights with myself. This include bathroom breaks, no facebook there either!

We all have those moments where you face a task that you don't like, and you'll find any reason to do something else instead. These will increase during the day and after each break, accept that.

So I always start my work day with work, no "I'll just do this". Then when these moments come, I'll try one of the following things; get a cup of coffee, go for a walk outside, get something to eat, change task, or just force myself. It's much much better to "lose" 1-10 minutes like that than it is to check facebook, because when you start doing that, you'll be tempted to do it again in 5 minutes.

Also, you will have to be able to turn down your temptation to waste time. Always take pride in doing that.

The idea that you can somehow create a system where you Can't/automatically won't waste time is a mirrage, it doesn't work. As long as facebook is one of those things you consider doing at a minute-to-minute basis, you will find a way around any system.

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I tried this cold-turkey approach of "Absolutely no phone or internet" but work-related internet browsing far too easily leads to perusing the "Hot Network Questions" on StackExchange and wasting tons of time. – sgryzko Oct 30 '14 at 2:45
I know exactly what you mean. You'll have to set a hard limit for yourself. No StackExchange that doesn't contribute to your work. Remind yourself of this rule every morning, you must have made a recent decision to NOT waste time for this to work. If you don't have a decision to live up to, you'll never have the mental support to make the decision to NOT click that link. More pragmatic techniques: hosts redirection of bad stackexchanges, have a list of things to check out after work. If you feel like clicking the link, write it down, visit later. – Mårten Oct 30 '14 at 8:26

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