How can I beat distraction and get down to my homework?

Hi Mark,

Whenever I have to sit down and do homework, I freeze up and just can't do it. I find any way to distract myself rather than actually do my homework. What can I do?

This question was submitted by 'Marlin'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

Hi Marlin,

This is a great thing to overcome and you will do. I find one of the simplest and most powerful ways is to tap into the human need for completion. I'll explain what I mean.

We are all hardwired to feel compelled to complete things we’ve started, so even just starting something with the intention of only spending a couple of minutes on it can make you feel compelled to continue with it, even if you hadn’t felt compelled at all beforehand. You don't know you want to hear a punch line to a joke until someone starts to tell you the joke but then stops before the punch line. People don't know they want to see a TV drama until the episode finishes with an unresolved plot and they then feel compelled to watch the next episode. People given puzzles to solve in a psychology experiment but who were interrupted from their task before they completed it - because the experiment seemed to be over - continued to try to solve those puzzles.

Once we start something, we feel compelled to carry on. So it's the starting - not the doing - that's the problem. Next time you sit down to do your homework, I want you to have the intention of doing it for two minutes. Set an alarm to sound after those two minutes. But for those two minutes, really do work. What you will find is that when you do this, it becomes hard to stop.

Then set your alarm for a further three minutes and focus on working for a further 180 seconds, but that is all you are aiming for. This is like 'kick starting' a car so that very soon it travels under its own steam. (I know cars don't run on steam, but you know what I mean. : ) )

Give that a go and see how quickly you progress. And you could also check out this article: 'A Simple Power Trick for Getting Stuff Done'.

All best wishes,


watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - March 21st, 2014 in

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