If you’re going to be studying at home, taking the time to set up your study space properly is invaluable! It can help you stay organised, create positive associations with study and increase your productivity.
The perfect study area will look different for everyone, but there are key elements you should consider.
Here are 5 main steps and essential checklists to help you get started:
1. Designate a study room or zone
We have bad news. The perfect study space is not your bed.
As tempting as it might be to roll over in bed in the morning and grab your laptop, it’s almost guaranteed that the result won’t be productive.
It’s important to designate a study zone with a desk/table and chair that’s separate from your relaxed zones. A whole room is ideal, but not necessary – it can be a desk area in your bedroom or living room or even a section of your dining table that you dedicate to your study.
Having an assigned space will help your mindset switch from work to play and vice versa.
Tip: Pack away your study materials after each session so that they’re out of sight. This way you can enjoy your ‘relaxing time’ without seeing your books or notes out of the corner of your eye.
2. Make it functional
Here’s a quick checklist to make your study desk a haven of productivity:
- Make it comfortable – calculate your ideal desk height and use an ergonomic chair if possible.
- Clear any clutter – use storage solutions like document trays to sort out any paper piles on your desk, and stationery organisers to hold any loose items.
- Lighting matters – try to set up your study space near a window if possible to maximise natural lighting.
- Keep things handy – have all your study materials and stationery readily accessible – notebooks, pens, highlighters, post-it notes and whatever else you might need.
- H20 – always keep a water bottle on your desk to keep hydrated.
3. Minimise distractions
You could chain yourself to your desk, but we suggest trying these less dramatic techniques first:
- Set yourself some ground rules i.e. phone has to be kept on silent and you’re not allowed to check personal emails or social media during study time.
- Make sure you have a set routine to stick to, with key tasks and breaks scheduled in.
- Listen to an instrumental playlist if you’re the type of person who needs music to study. Check out Superior Focus Playlist and Study Music on Spotify.
- Try the Pomodoro technique for studying – it’s all about breaking down tasks and taking breaks to maintain your focus.
- Noise-cancelling headphones can be handy if you know you’re going to be dealing with external distractions.
4. Clear your digital workspace
Are you guilty of having a laptop desktop littered with files?
You’ve organised your physical study space; now it’s time to clear your digital workspace.
You might find these solutions helpful for organising your digital files:
Try to keep files organised via a system of folders and subfolders. You should have a handful of “main” folders that could be your subjects, and several subfolders dedicated to assessments, readings and other documents.
Tip: Try picking a desktop wallpaper that you really like and frame the image so that it’s centered on your desktop. Then, place your apps/folders around the image – the trick is, if your folders start encroaching on your image, it means you have too many and it’s time for another digital clean!
5. Personalise your space
Only you can know what inspires and motivates your productivity. Time to get a little creative, and make it a space that you actually want to spend time in!
A few ideas to help personalise your desk space and make it uniquely yours:
- Inspo board – buy a pinboard (Kmart and IKEA are a go-to) and use it to stick up photos, motivational quotes, goal lists and images that will keep you motivated.
- Posters – whether it’s of your favourite movie or travel destination, posters can help create pleasant associations with your study space.
- Indoor plants – studies have shown that having plants in your house can help reduce stress and anxiety, and can help spruce your study area.
- Candles – because who doesn’t want to be surrounded by nice aromas when studying?