Jon: My exam revision? It’s going okay, but not as well as I’d like it to.
Jenny: Why? What’s the problem? Aren't you organising your time properly?
Jon: Oh, I’ve made a timetable and written lists and so on. But I’ll be honest with you. Once I get in my room and spread all my books on my desk, I just can't settle down to studying. I start off okay, but after twenty minutes or so my mind wanders off. I end up doing very little. I don't know what to do.
Jenny: I can certainly give you advice. You have to use your time well. But if I’m going to talk about this, you have to listen to me.
Jon: Oh, I will! Of course! You’re my infinitely wiser – older – cousin.
Jenny: Oh, cheeky. Right. First of all, you have to remove all the things that distract you from work.
Jon: What do you mean?
Jenny: I know you. I bet you sit there with your headphones on listening to music.
Jon: Music helps me relax.
Jenny: No, it doesn’t. It’s a distraction. Music doesn't help you study. So keep your headphones and your music shut away in a drawer.
Jon: Okay. Distraction one – gone.
Jenny: And don't let Colin follow you into your room.
Jon: Stroking Colin helps me relax and concentrate.
Jenny: Relax, maybe, but it’s another distraction. You won’t be focused on your work. Keep your door shut when you are studying so Colin can’t get in and divert your attention.
Jon: You are cruel!
Jenny: Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.
Jon: Point taken. Colin, you’re a distraction. Keep out!
Jenny: Next, put an apple and a glass of water on your desk before you start working.
Jon: What for?
Jenny: When you set yourself two hours of study time in your room, how many times do you go out to the kitchen to get something to drink or eat? Be honest.
Jon: Oh, once or twice.
Jenny: Once or twice?
Jon: Err…. err…. quite a few times, actually.
Jenny: Nibbles in the kitchen are another distraction. You’re going to have to be firm with yourself, you know.
Jon: Yes, I know. I am taking your advice on board.
Jenny: And the biggest distraction of the lot. Leave your phone in the living room or the kitchen.
Jon: No way! What if I get an important call or message?
Jenny: They can wait. Having your phone on the desk in front of you is the biggest distraction of the lot. Wait - you don’t have a TV in your room now, do you?
Jenny: Thank goodness for that. You will study on your own a lot better if you do what I’ve told you. Distractions are a menace when you are trying to study. So when do your exams actually start?