A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
… or the dream of every student during exam period
Every day, we let ourselves – we crave – to be exposed to more information than we could possibly take in in any coherent manner. We click and scroll, scroll, scroll… on an array of devices. Website developers have taken it to heart to let us knock ourselves out doing so.
There are ever-more-scrolable pages, with the content running up and down, eager for our attention. Almost like a living thing – sometimes more than even a house kitty (or a puppy. or any other attention-craving creature you can think of!). At least your kitty munches her cookies and is not constantly shoving them in your face in hope you accept them for future scroll-improving, online log-saving ones.
The Big Wide Online World
I was considering to create and upload here one of those cool infographics, or some stats on how many lifetimes would take to read all the books published to date in English (mind you, not other languages – and excluding all the flourishing online content which is not strictly defined as books per se). Though I figured – there are plenty already online. Here is one I find especially pleasant to look at – the statistics are given for a 60 seconds timeframe! First time I looked I thought it was for an entire day. Wow.
Now, do not get me wrong: I absolutely love the internet! So much so, that on occasion (who am I lying to…) – constantly – I have trouble on concentrating on my actual work and actual university research.
I have found myself in a situation to need to trick myself, or even take strong measures against that constant clickety distractions that I expose myself to every single day.
How to (force yourself) stop scrolling websites that distract you
While I am still waiting on a software (anyone from IT out there?) which would limit me to no-more-than-three-levels of link following, here are some solutions that I have found useful for me. Those are just general ideas and I will be very curious if you can share what are you using!
Evernote for “instilling” some order
A piece of often ignored software – I started using it only recently but it works for me. I like the sticky-note style of the notes, and the possibility to organise everything in separate notebooks (also possible to see an overview of those). Not to forget the cute icon that is the app – an elephant. As a Japanese major, I do have a special appreciation for cute things.
Blocking (certain) websites
My personal favourite, despite its title, is LeechBlock – it is an add on for Firefox. I personally don’t like installing random software on my computer so it works for me. If you decide to try it out, let me know if it works! You should be able to make a list of websites your Firefox browser will not open for a certain period of time.
You would have to exercise some self-control and not resort to Explorer meanwhile….
Well, the phone. Do not throw it away if it distracts you! (I think a friend of mine told me she is fed up with hers, to which I replied: “so, chuck it” – and she did. In a bin.) Please do not do that…. but putting it on silent, without any indicator for received messages, and safely in your bag – should work. Wasting time on the phone rather than on the laptop/PC is still wasting of time (I often get that one wrong myself).
Ps. You clicked on it, didn’t you!
Ps…2: The image above with the locomotive I was lucky to capture at Schiedam Station, while one of those beauties was passing by. Something about it being the last day they are allowed on the NS network?