As deadlines and finals draw near, having an organized personal study space becomes more important than ever. Not sure how to create one at home? Here are 8 easy steps to help you create your college study space.
1. Find a comfortable space. The best spot to study is comfortable, but not so cozy you get drowsy. Ensure there is adequate room to spread out your study materials. Some people are lucky enough to have a dedicated study space, like a desk in a quiet room at home. Others will have to make do with a temporary study space, like at the kitchen table or on the living room couch. It doesn’t matter where you study as long as you come prepared.
2. Ensure adequate lighting. Overhead lighting can be too dim for some learners and cause eyestrain. The best solution is a task light, like an office desk lamp. Good lighting will ensure you can see all your work properly.
3. Get organized before you begin. This means ensuring you have set aside time, and that you have all your study materials, books, and supplies so that you don’t have to keep interrupting your progress to go hunting for missing items. If you have a dedicated work space like a desk or study nook, you can also decorate your space with your favorite colors, photos of loved ones, inspirational quotes, or anything else that reminds you of your goals.
4. Prevent distractions. This means staying away from social media and putting your phone out of arms reach so you aren’t tempted to answer every message or catch up on errands. If you can close your door and family members or friends, you will find it easier to stay focused. Do you need to study in complete silence? Try to work your schedule around an empty house. Many people prefer quiet music, with or without lyrics, to help filter other more distracting noises.
5. Use the clock to your advantage. Set time-related goals and give yourself small rewards for completing them. Complete a chapter in 20 minutes and take a five minute Facebook break. Study flashcards for 20 minutes and go make yourself a healthy snack. When you break your studying down into small chunks it doesn’t feel so overwhelming.
6. Refuel. Ensure you have hydration and healthy snack choices when you sit down to study. This can be a refreshing glass of ice water or maybe a steaming mug of your favorite tea. Some people create study rituals and enjoy their favorite drinks or snacks during study time to help them stay motivated. Just stay away from anything with too much sugar or caffeine, as too much of either can make you sleepy or jittery.
7. Schedule breaks. Whether you’re using a clock to set goals for yourself or not, it’s important to schedule breaks. Stand up and do some stretches. Take a five or ten minute walk. Refill your cup, and then dive back in.
8. Still having trouble? Take a study field trip. Some people just don’t study well at home and have an easier time concentrating on campus, or in a coffee shop or library. There’s no “wrong” place to study if it works for you, so don’t be afraid to try different environments to see what helps you stay focused.