How Technology Can Tank Your Success in Class: Part 2

The tech you think is making you more productive is actually holding you back—even more reasons to unplug.

Stever Robbins
5-minute read
Episode #433

Steal your professor’s brain!

As an extra bonus, sitting in the front row also helps you read your professor’s mind and suck the knowledge directly out of their brains. Bwahah hah hah hah! Actually, I’m completely serious. As an undergrad, I noticed that learning in-person from a professor who really understood the material gave me much better learning, much faster, than learning on my own or from someone with a lesser understanding. I’m sure it has something to do with mirror neurons, or subtle nonverbal cues, or something like that. Unfortunately, I was playing Halo 3 on my laptop during the day we covered that material, so I don’t remember it.

Delete distracting apps

Some classes require using a computer, and they may even ask you to look things up on the web. But they don’t require you to look up YouTube videos like the latest Adam Ruins Everything: The Truth about Hymens (which is actually quite educational and if you’re a guy, will teach you things you never knew before).

Keep your web surfing focus intact by using a blocker. Intern MG is a sucker for browsing ZooBorns.com when he’s supposed to be paying attention in Perfectionism 101. He uses blacklisting apps like SelfControl or Focus. He turns them on, adds ZooBorns to the blacklist, and can still look up the many faces of perfectionism but not… not… not… the many faces of cute, adorable ZooBorns.

When in doubt, throw them out

If the computer is just too much of a distraction, downgrade. Buy a cheap, “dumb” laptop that’s only loaded up with note taking, work processor, spreadsheets, and other productivity apps. It’ll be just like the 1990s, back when Silicon Valley actually tried to make computers useful tools rather than soul-sucking distraction, surveillance, and mass manipulation devices. You only need a few applications to do your most productive work, as I discussed in my episode on writing fast.

That still doesn’t solve the problem of being distracted by a smartphone. As horrifying as he may find the prospect, MG might get a lot more out of his education by trading in his smartphone for a flip phone.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT. 

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