In March 2020, The New York Times reported that among undergraduates, 30% were taking at least one online course and 13% were doing so exclusively. Due to the widespread transition to online courses by universities for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester, these figures increased dramatically. Whether you’re one of the millions of students who are just starting out with online courses or have been doing so for a while, you’ve probably noticed that there are some challenges specific to online education. The amount of work you need to get done at home (from meeting virtually with professors and attending Zoom classes to studying for tests and writing papers) may force you to reevaluate your approach to time management. Dishes, laundry, and snack-making are just a few examples of the many things that can distract students from their studies. Having a designated study area at home can help you concentrate on your studies. Here are some pointers to help you get rolling.
1. Create a Space That’s Free of Distractions
When it comes to where they do their studying, many students have strong personal preferences. While some prefer the ambiance of a coffee shop for their study needs, others thrive in the peace and quiet of a library study nook. However, there will be times when you need to study in a public place and can’t avoid doing so, in which case you’ll have to work your study sessions around the hours the place is open. Establishing a single, quiet, dedicated study space at home has many advantages, even if it is your second choice. Rooms in the bedroom or living area can be converted into study spaces for those who are short on dedicated office or attic space. If it’s hard for you to focus when the TV, your phone, and your social media sites are all trying to get your attention, setting up a dedicated space might be the best thing to do. If you do your best work when studying in silence, getting into the habit of switching off the music and putting your phone on silent can help.
2. Make It Comfortable
If you’re currently doing your schoolwork at home, keep in mind that you’ll be more productive if your study space is conducive to your needs. Which of the following best describes your ideal study environment when you’re at home? When most of us think of reading, we picture ourselves propped up in bed or on the couch. Students would be well-served to purchase a chair and, if at all possible, a desk, even if these are the most practical locations at the moment. Students who find that working from bed doesn’t yield good results can benefit greatly from a space that strikes a balance between comfort and professionalism in the classroom. The surrounding environment has an impact on a conducive study environment. It should, for instance, be a location that doesn’t get excessively hot in the summer or cold in the winter. If the temperature in your study space is too high or low, respectively, it may be time to invest in some fans or warm blankets in order to maintain your concentration. Putting a bed or blanket for your pet in your study space is another way to make it more cozy. Having a trusted study partner around can make the experience more enjoyable and less stressful.
3. Make Sure You Have Enough Space
For students sharing an apartment or other living arrangement, space can be at a premium. If you share a living or family space with others, everyone needs to be able to use the study area at the same time. Shared workspaces require careful planning to ensure that everyone has enough time and space to get their work done or study done. For students to be productive, a dedicated study area needs to provide enough desk space. You should be able to work comfortably with a laptop, several textbooks, and a notebook. A bigger desk could be worthwhile to purchase if this is the case.
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4. Set the Lighting
Due to factors like work schedules and peak productivity levels, different students tend to get their schoolwork done at various times throughout the day. People who prefer daytime study should select a location with plenty of windows. Set up your desk next to a window so you can get some natural light and fresh air while you work. On the other hand, you need to find a spot where the light won’t cast shadows on your screen. Students who do the bulk of their studying and work in the evenings and overnight should give careful consideration to their choice of artificial lighting.
5. Keep It Clean
Cleanliness is as important as comfort when it comes to determining whether or not your study space helps you concentrate. Those who suffer from anxiety due to clutter should make it a priority to keep their study space neat and orderly. Your study space will be less stressful and more productive if you dust and wipe it down on a regular basis. For those who are easily sidetracked, the last thing they need is a desk covered in dirty dishes, a full trash can, and a pile of empty coffee cups when they should be focusing on their studies. Before beginning homework, it is advisable to do chores such as washing the dishes and taking out the trash. The spread of illness can be reduced by maintaining a clean study area. Most people today are making health a top priority, so keeping your study space clean with antibacterial wipes or spray on a regular basis can only help.
6. Personalize It
Curtains, shelves, pictures, a clock, some art, some plants, and maybe even some music can all help make your study space feel more like home. Personalize your space with useful organizational tools like corkboards, memo boards, and agendas. While others prefer to study in silence, some students find that listening to classical music enhances their learning. There are “focus” or “study” stations on some music streaming services specifically designed to provide soothing background noise. White noise for studying can be useful if you are more productive in a noisy environment.
Start Designing Your Study Space
You should create a productive study area at home even if you have a regular study spot elsewhere, such as a coffee shop or library. The spot could be anywhere: a nook in your bedroom, an office desk, a patio table, or even a picnic blanket in the front yard. Make your study space inviting and comfortable for optimal productivity and creativity. Personalization is key when creating a productive study environment, as only you can determine what works best for you.