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How to Turn Facebook Drama into Study Time

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Why do people spend so much time posting Facebook drama, when you know they’re just wasting study time? You may be wondering this as you scroll down yet another feed of soap-operatic magnitude, or roll your eyes at your mate Dave's latest lunch picture. But as a student with an impending exam, or a dissertation due next week, what you should probably be asking is why you're on Facebook in the first place! 

In TopUniversities.com’s global student survey, more than half the respondents in every region said they used five key social networks (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest) “all the time”. So, how do you resist that blue icon tugging at your sleeve demanding that you come out and play?

It might not be necessary to do anything too drastic (such as moving to China – see point 3 below), but constantly checking your feed and updating your status is not going to get the work done.

Here are some suggestions on how escape the Facebook drama, and turn social media procrastination into productive study time

1. Harmonize your internal and external motivation

According to research summarized recently by Psyblog, there are only two reasons why we do anything at all: internal and external motivation.

Internally motivated actions may include socializing or eating, and external motivations may include what others want us to do, such as studying or working.

There is plenty of room for these two sets of motivations to become intertwined. For example, you may have been set an assignment, but only because you wanted to study that subject in the first place. 

The trick is to turn external motivations into internal ones, thus transforming work (study time) into play (displacing social media). 

According to Psyblog's summary, this harmonization of internal and external motivation happens when three basic human needs are satisfied: competence, autonomy and relatedness.

The first, competence, satisfies our need to be good at something – so make sure you’re feeling academically challenged by your studies. The second, flexibility, allows some wiggle room within the confines of the task at hand – which could mean applying your own interpretation to the topic if you're writing an essay. The third, relatedness, satisfies our desire as social animals to connect with other people – so perhaps try studying with friends.

Get your study time to fulfill all three of these criteria, and hopefully you’ll find your mind wandering onto social media less frequently.

2. Stop multitasking – it’s probably wasting your time

Despite research summarized by Scientific American that says your brain can handle two different goals simultaneously, it cannot also handle two tasks at once. Time is wasted when switching from one to the other, even if it is only a miniscule amount. So even having Facebook open during study time is probably making you less efficient.

In fact, people who think they are good at multitasking effectively (because they do it all the time) are likely to be wrong, because people who can concentrate on one thing at a time are less likely to even try multitasking unless they really have to.

3. If all else fails, move to China! (Just avoid signing up to any Chinese social networks…)

With many popular social networks (including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) banned in China, it may be a while before you can upload another picture of your lunch… However, that won't be a problem if you can speak the language, as there are lots of popular Chinese social networks: Renren (known as "China's Facebook") and Sina Weibo (the country's answer to Twitter).

Hope these suggestions help. And by the way, if you do decide to move to China, check out Peking University (ranked 44th worldwide in the 2012/13 QS World University Rankings) or Tsinghua University (48th).

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Jane Playdon's profile image
Written by Jane Playdon
Jane Playdon is a TopUniversities.com author and blogger.

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5 Comments

Great article! Simple yet very informative about how to turn facebook drama into study time. Keep posting!

It's really a cool and helpful piece of information. I'm glad that you simply shared this useful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

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