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Top 10 Time Wasters That Are Ruining Your Grades


College Student Studying
Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images
A recent study demonstrated that students using Facebook have a lower GPA than their non-Facebook-using peers. As social and media websites grow more popular, it’s easy to thoughtlessly move from completing an online class assignment to surfing the web or chatting with friends online.

What are the biggest time wasting websites? Take a look at the list below and ask yourself how often you’re sucked into a site when you’re supposed to be studying:

1. Facebook.

The aforementioned study found that students who avoided Facebook earned grades .5 percent higher than their peers. Are all those breakfast cereal updates and red cup party pictures really worth the loss?

2. Instant Messenger.

Having some type of instant messenger program open while you’re trying to study can be a huge distraction. Whether you accept messages through Facebook, AOL, or your email client, letting your messaging program run is the online equivalent to trying to study in a crowded party. At the very least, set your status to “busy” when you’re trying to get things done. The smartest thing to do is to turn off your messenger completely when you’re working -most people still remember how to use a telephone in case of emergency.

3. Pinterest.

What do book lovers, fashion fiends, chefs, and crafters all have in common? They can’t get enough of this picture-collecting website. Pinterest is a particularly sneaky time waster. You think you’re just going to spend 30 seconds glancing at the screen, and look up to see that you’ve been imagining new projects for the last three hours. Since Pinterest is now integrated with Facebook, it’s even more difficult to ignore. The only solution seems to be enforcing a personal Pinterest blackout time. Don’t type in the URL until all of your work is done for the day.

4. Youtube.

When you’re ready for a break, it’s easy to get sucked into watching dozens of 2-minute clips featuring skateboarders, laughing babies, and puppies. But, the minutes of “#&*! People Say” videos can quickly add into hours.

5. Netflix.

On-demand videos are great for entertainment, but not so great for students that need a distraction-free learning environment. Some learners can complete simple assignments with music or long videos as background noise. But, others need to do their work in silence. Think about your own learning style before you decide to complete your coursework “while watching a video.” Can you really do your best work with a video on the screen, or will the quality of your assignments start to suffer?

6. Reddit.

It’s easy to waste an entire day on social news sharing websites like Reddit. With new stories and links every second, your best bet is to avoid these sites altogether until you’re ready to relax.

7. Email.

Many people still use email to communicate with friends and family. The biggest problem isn’t the overall use of email, it’s the natural tendency to check email every 5 minutes. To stay on track, ban yourself from checking until a certain time of day. You don’t need up-to-the minute updates on Gap sales and credit card offers. Your messages can wait a few hours while you focus on your work.

8. Wikipedia.

Wikipedia can be an excellent starting place to get basic information and find additional resources on a topic you’re studying. But, for history-lovers and infomaniacs, it’s a time wasting black hole. You can easily move from one article, to another, and another, until you realize that the day is gone. If you’re tempted by Wikipedia’s reader-friendly articles, set a time limit for yourself before you get sucked in.

9. Off-topic class discussions.

Even your own class website can eat up your time and distract you from getting real work done. Watch out for off-topic message boards and discussion threads that tempt you to put off assignments.

10. Reading about time wasters.

Did you find this article because you’re procrastinating your assignments? The web can be a difficult place to get work done, but don’t let it distract you from achieving your goals.
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