UNITED STATES—Raise your hand if you’ve ever worked on homework will watching television. I’m guilty of it, as are plenty of others. The big question that has been posed time and time again is rather a person can fully deliver exceptional work while being distracted in an attempt to study, notably the television.

The answer to that question in my opinion is no. It’s impossible to fully focus on the task at hand and watch television or do other things because they are an added distraction. So why do we live in a world where children have the perception that they can successfully do something that adults are unable to do? Good question.  If it comes to writing a paper, studying for a test, it’s an impossible task to perform. You must be in a quiet state, to successfully complete a well written paper or to maintain the material that you are processing for a test.

Anyone who tells you otherwise, is not only lying, but in denial about the quality of work they are presenting. It will be half-done, inaccurate or an incoherent train of thought. The big problem is so many of us tend to attempt to work in front of the TV instead of going to a room without a television. It seems the home now consists of a television being in every single room in the residence, but we need to train ourselves to work in a room with as little distractions as possible.

The bedroom, the family room, the basement, should all be off the table. A good place to study would perhaps be at the kitchen counter, nowadays, most kitchens aren’t equipped with electronic distractions which is a good thing.  Another place is likely the office, but for most people studying in a place secluded to study can be an even bigger distraction; most offices have TVs.

One, it’s best to study when the material is fresh in the brain. Yep, I know most people need a break before working, but at the same time that break can cause one to lose most of what they’ve mastered.  Even if you only take 15-30 minutes to review notes, re-write notes or review some material, the information becomes processed in the memory.

A big mistake many people make with studying is to do it for extensive periods of time; not a good idea. Why? The more you attempt to cram, the more things flounder in the brain. We can only absorb so much during a specified time frame. For kids a small TV break in between study periods is a great idea, even a reward as a snack is good idea. The more the child focuses on the task at hand, the more trained they will become at making something routine.

For teenagers and college students, the task at hand becomes more difficult, because for some the TV is a motivator to study. It actually is for me. I can focus to a degree by hearing sounds and tuning them out. I know it’s difficult to grasp the concept, but unless you’re placed into my mind, it would be hard to understand.  The thing I learned the most while in college is that my secret study place was the laundry room, yep the laundry room.

I thought it was just me, but so many others seconded that theory also.  While doing laundry most would just put in a load and head back to the dorm. Not me, I put in a load, took my books and notes and studied for about an hour or two to wait for my clothing to finish washing and then popping into the dryer.  This may not be feasible for smaller children, but for teens and adults I believe it is.

When it comes to studying, I think developing a routine is a key factor. A place that brings calmness to the mind, allows you to relax, but to focus on the task at hand with little to no distraction is the key factor. Let’s face it: no one likes to study, but it is a part of life. Whether it’s work or school, we all do it to some degree.