• A Chinese university has started a "no phone in the library" campaign.

A Chinese university has started a "no phone in the library" campaign. (Photo : Getty Images)

Focusing requires effort and it especially does so when your mobile phone is just an arm's reach away from you.

The distraction that can possibly be brought by mobile phones has led the library of Southwest University in China's Chongqing municipality to start a campaign to help students concentrate on studying by setting up a reading room where they deposit their mobile phones upon entering.

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Zhang Shuran, one of the persons involved in the campaign, stated that they have opened the reading room because they have actually seen many students using their phones inside the library and ending up with a shortened study time.

Zhang related that their staff would notify the students if there is a call from a parent or teacher. But any call from an unknown person and all text messages would have to wait until the owners reclaim their phones.

Some students had been reported to have refrained from using their phones for only 20 minutes.

One girl, who went out of the reading room twice and made some excuses to check on her phone within a span of 30 minutes, admitted that even though she wanted to focus on her studies she could not fight the urge to see if someone has messaged her on WeChat.

Another still, a self-confessed mobile game addict who spends more than eight hours a day in playing, has given up easily, telling that joining the campaign has tested his self-control. He was convinced by his roommate to participate and said that he plans to try it again.

One particular student though from the College of Animal Science and Technology, Hu Xiaopeng, was different. He had set the longest record of 530 minutes or roughly 9 hours of studying without getting back to his phone.

Hu said that he used to bring and use his phone to the library and to his classes but realizing that it consumes a significant amount of time and he needed to prepare for the postgraduate entrance examination, he decided to refrain from using it when studying.

Aside from calls and text messages, all the apps, games and social media platforms readily available in a mobile phone today make it challenging to last even an hour without checking on it. But with the right goal and a lot of self-discipline, even an entire day without it would be possible.