Whether you’re in a Vocational Trade School or working to earn your Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree, the time you spend studying outside of the classroom or home office is just as important as the time you spend in it. Without the perfect environment, you may notice that your study habits start to slip. You either get distracted, start procrastinating, or just get bored. To help keep your focus, try creating the perfect study space. Use these tips to create a productive and effective study space at home or in public settings.
1. Limit Distractions
A friend texts you, or you get a notification from one of your favorite apps, or you scroll through your playlists for far too long to find the exact song you want to study to, or someone walks into the room and causes you to lose focus – we’ve all been there. It’s no secret that distractions like these can completely derail your study time. Once your mind wanders or you get up from your study space, it can be challenging to get your focus back and make up for lost time. You may even feel like you’ve been distracted for so long that you should just give up on schoolwork for the day.
To help you stay on track, limit as many distractions as possible. If you know that your phone will be an issue, keep it out of the room or put it on “Do Not Disturb” until your schoolwork is over. If TV shows are your downfall, set up your study space in a room that doesn’t have a TV nearby. If people often distract you, consider studying at home instead of in coffee shops or libraries. Try limiting the things that distract you most to help enhance your focus.
2. Find Your Favorite Study Area
The area you choose to study in is essential. While some students thrive in cozy coffee shops or quiet libraries, others do their best work in their own homes. To help you find what’s best for you, try out a few study spaces. The one that helps you focus most should be used more regularly to help ensure that you complete everything on your to-do list.
If you think you’ll be better creating a good study environment at home, consider keeping the area separate from other places in the house. For example, studying at the kitchen table or in the living room can set you up for a wide range of distractions. Do your best to keep your focus by setting up a study space in a quiet corner of the house that’s as far away from people or potential distractions as possible.
3. Set Up Your Space
After you’ve found your favorite place to study, make sure you have enough room to use all your study tools. Some students prefer to only keep the things they need on the desk while they work, like a textbook and a notebook. Others prefer to spread out all their supplies to keep everything they need within reach.
If you like spreading out your supplies while you study, check that there’s enough room on your desk to do so. The items you need may be different depending on what you’re studying or what degree you’re working toward, but there are some study essentials every student needs on their desk to succeed. These essential study items include your laptop or computer, school textbooks, a notebook, pens or pencils, highlighters, healthy snacks, and water.
4. Listen Carefully
Sounds are one of the first things that distract people while they study. Loud areas, people talking nearby, or certain kinds of music can cause you to lose focus quickly. If you’re studying in a public space, try using noise-canceling headphones that can keep you locked in on the task at hand. If you’re studying at home, let any other members of the household know that you’re studying so they can try to keep noises and other distractions to a minimum.
While some sounds can distract you, that doesn’t mean you always need to study in complete silence. There are certain music genres and other sounds that can increase your ability to focus. Classical music and ambient noise have been known to help boost productivity and enhance focus for some students. Try them out by looking up ambient noise apps and online playlists that help you study.
5. Let the Light In
Dark spaces can cause eye strain and potentially even increase sleepiness. Alternatively, too much bright light can hurt your eyes and cause too much of a distraction. To help you focus, make sure you have just enough light to concentrate. If possible, make use of natural light by studying near a window. Otherwise, try a combination of overhead lighting and a desk lamp to create the perfect study space.
6. Set the Temperature
The ideal study space should keep you comfortable. If your environment is too warm, you may feel groggy or sleepy. If it’s too cold, you may be too distracted to focus on your homework. Before you settle in and get to work on essays, projects, studying, and other assignments, make sure you set the temperature to a comfortable level.
7. Only Use Your Study Space for Studying
You may be tempted to use your study space for other reasons, whether it’s talking to friends at the library, eating at the dining table, or sleeping in your bed. If possible, try to create a distance between your study area and other spaces. This can help you associate the study space exclusively with schoolwork, helping you stay on track and get your assignments done in a timely manner rather.
With these student study space tips, you’re well on your way to regaining your focus and completing classwork. Keep in mind that everyone studies differently, and what may work for some students might not impact your ability to focus.