Phones, computers and other digital devices are without a doubt the most destructive distraction of all. They bombard you with notifications, offering a temporary escape from your work with the lure of videos, games, and social media. They provide you with a world of information that is largely low-quality and totally irrelevant to your study, although their makers strive to convince you otherwise.
Junkformation: information that is irrelevant to your study and low in quality i.e. junk information.
Junkformation is the sewage of the internet. Its consumption is a leading cause of interruptions, mental crowding and information obesity. Popular sources of junkformation include social media, the news (yes...even most “high quality” news is junk), videos, and most other online content. 99% of it has no positive effect on your life.
Junkformation is designed to grab your attention. Technology companies, news corporations and social media networks pump extremely large amounts of money every year into becoming more effective at doing this. The content you see has been tailored specifically to your tastes, carefully crafted by sophisticated data-analysis techniques.
These companies work hard to keep you glued to your screen with junkformation designed to be maximally addictive. The glue remains sticky long after you have put your phone away.
If this sounds overly dramatic, you should first assess your own technology usage habits from an honest perspective. Or observe your friends’ behaviour. How often do they take out their phones and mindlessly scroll through social media or browse shopping apps? How often do they check meaningless notifications? How often do they let the never-ending news, to be forgotten within days, occupy their minds, even though it brings nothing to their lives?
When you take in irrelevant information while studying, you mix it with what is relevant. This has an unwelcome diluting effect which utterly corrupts your learning. It is like adding dirty pond water to a glass of fresh orange juice. Even the most supremely high-quality orange juice would be ruined.
To make matters worse, the glass only has limited capacity. Once you fill it up for the day, you can't add more. In the same way, your mind can only absorb and usefully process a limited amount of information each day.
Don’t waste any of that precious capacity on low-quality, irrelevant information. Save it for after you have finished working. Your phone and any other disruptive technology should be off and out of sight while you study.