As virtual college classes become more and more common and students prepare for an entirely new kind of study experience, it’s important to be positioned for success. Today’s college students are burdened with managing multiple courses, organizing homework, and worrying whether their barking dog is causing a raucous while on a Zoom meeting. Here’s how you can set up a home study space that promotes strong academic habits.
If you are moving back home due to your college going remote, it’s important to have a mover you can trust on your side that also offers storage.
First step is to start getting rid of things you don’t need. If you will be setting up a study space in a common area of the house, select a space that has few distractions. Get rid of the TV, video game console and any junk or clutter that may be causing distractions within that space. Remember: out of sight, out of mind! Set up your study space well away from messy snacks, piles of unimportant papers, and “to-do” lists that have nothing to do with school. Designate a place away from your computer to plug in your phone and leave them while you study. Being tempted by a phone within arm’s reach is a major distraction you just don’t need.
Create a Routine
When you create one dedicated study space and return to it again and again, it will be much easier to get into the studying mindset. The human brain is a great adapter! Determine which space will become the study nook for your upcoming semester and get to know it as such. Get rid of anything that’s not study-related, such as magazines, pet toys, unrelated books and other distractions.
Prepare Essential Study Items
Come up with a comfortable study space at home, but make sure it’s not too comfortable. There should be a sturdy desk and chair, as well as adequate lighting. You will also want to stock up on:
- Notebooks and binders
- Index cards
- Writing utensils such as pens and pencils
- An external mouse if you have a laptop, rather than using the trackpad. Mice are more ergonomically-friendly.
- Calculator and other course-specific tools
- Noise-cancelling headphones
- Textbooks or a tablet loaded with books and articles for your classes
- Planner or calendar for visually mapping out due dates and timelines
- Decorations that delight or inspire but that don’t distract. Think: low-maintenance plants, inspiring quotes or calming nature scenes.
- Water and healthy, low-fat and non-sugary snacks to keep your energy levels up
Correct Lighting and Temperature
It’s best to work next to a window to get the most natural light and airflow. If this isn’t possible, arrange your desk lamps so the space is properly illuminated. Studies reveal that “cool light” (bluer hue) is better for focusing, while “warm light” (orange or reddish hue) is better for being creative. Make sure your entire study area can be utilized even for late-night study sessions, and that at least one of your lamps has been set up for conference calls or online classes to fully illuminate your face.
If you can control the temperature in the room, go for the middle ground: not too cold, not too hot. This will depend on personal preference, but just remember a heatwave or an extremely cold room can dull your ability to focus on tasks. If you can’t fully control the temperature in the room overall, consider using a space heater or a fan.
Keep Productivity in Mind
Studying at home brings endless possible distractions, unlike studying in a library on campus. At home, you’re constantly bombarded with distractions, such as fixing up a snack in the kitchen, throwing in a load of laundry, call a friend, going for a jog, etc. This is why you should set up time frames that are supportive of studying. Pinpoint the times of day where you feel the most focused and productive, then craft a reasonable schedule. Make sure you schedule plenty of stretch breaks. Research shows that the ideal work rhythm is 52 minutes of work time followed by 17-minute breaks, says Inc.com.
Make the Best of What You Have
Creating a home study space isn’t always simple if you are plagued with space limitations. But get creative and embrace what you have. It can be a continual work in progress; it doesn’t have to be complete the first day. Make adjustments in your schedule, furniture, and supplies as needed, so you can keep up with coursework.
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