Six tips for setting up the ideal home study environment

From organizing your desk to dealing with distractions, creating a comfortable and productive space can help you succeed

April 9, 2020

With all Blinn College courses shifting to an online format, bedrooms and kitchen tables have morphed into classrooms overnight. While settings will differ from student to student, take some time to create an encouraging space that allows you to focus on coursework. Here are six tips to help you create an inspiring and productive learning environment:

1. Location, location, location
This may seem like the most obvious component to setting up your space, but it is important to designate a specific area in your house or apartment to function as the hub for your work. This could be a home office, a desk in your bedroom, or the dining table. Find a spot and make it your go-to place for taking online classes and doing homework.

“I chose my bedroom because there are limited distractions,” sophomore Bailey Zibelin said. “I can focus on what I have to finish every week. This helps me comprehend the material, making it easier to remember.”

Some students may be able to work on their couch or while sitting outside, but with the traditional classroom setting temporarily removed, it is best to have a set location where you can focus.

2. The essentials
Now that you have the perfect spot picked out, you need all the tools to get to work. A desk or table can ground your study space and house all your work supplies. Make sure it has enough space for your computer, books, pens, and notetaking materials. If you have everything at hand to get right to work, you are more likely to remain focused.

“Even though the classes are online, I always have paper to write on next to me, along with the textbook for the class I am doing work for,” freshman Bryton Thompson said.
Other tools include reliable access to the internet, a surge protector, headphones for listening to a lecture or to tune out distractions, and a comfortable chair.

3. Set the scene
You have the location, desk, and essentials, now make your new study space as comfortable as possible to inspire you to concentrate. Take the time to personalize your space and make it a spot that helps motivate you toward your goals. Pictures of your family and friends or a plant can create a nurturing atmosphere where you are more likely to concentrate on your studies.

“The most important thing is physical comfort where you have work efficiency,” said Craig Jeffrey, Architecture Instructor and Assistant Dean for the Division of Visual/Performing Arts and Kinesiology. “If you are not fully comfortable then you are going to think about your discomfort and not the task, work or job at hand.”

Other controllable factors that Jeffrey believes can help put you in the right frame of mind are proper lighting and a pleasant temperature.

4. Enjoy the silence
With the physical scene set, try to remove distractions that will keep you from being productive. If you are back at home with your family or living with roommates, make sure to communicate with them about your lecture and study schedules. An effective pair of noise-canceling headphones or foam earplugs may also help with concentration. If you are attending a lecture or you just want uninterrupted study time, put your smart phone on silent or remove it from your study zone if you are unable to resist the temptation to procrastinate.

5. Everything in its right place
After going through all the effort to create a comfortable, designated space to attend online classes and focus on coursework, make sure it stays organized and streamlined. If you keep your workspace tidy, you are more likely to be productive and efficient when studying or tackling a project. It takes only a few minutes to look over your desk, organize papers, throw away trash, and write down a “to-do” list as you begin your day. After studying, wipe your workspace down with a disinfecting wipe to keep your desk sanitary and grunge-free.

6. Give yourself a break
You found the right spot, have the perfect desk, and made your new work zone as inviting as possible – now step away and go for a walk outside. Just as important as having the perfect study environment is taking some “me” time to relax. With the separation between the classroom and home life blurred, try to set boundaries and reward yourself after you meet your academic goals.

“I spend some time outside when I need a break and just walk or sit in the sun and listen to music,” sophomore Molly Pfeiffer said. “No homework allowed.”

Watch your favorite show, chat with friends, or go for a run. Taking a mental break is just as integral to your success as a computer or textbooks.

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