Having a good space for studying is essential to college life. Without one, you could get easily distracted, less motivated, and produce work of a lower quality.
But this is something that tends to be overlooked by college students. Not putting a bit of extra effort into where you study could make or break your semester, so make sure you’ve got the right setup for studying at home.
If you live in a dorm, it can be difficult to concentrate, especially if you’re sharing a room. Here are some handy tips to create a conducive study space with minimal distractions.
You’re much less likely to be distracted when studying if you remove things like your phone, iPad and television from view.
If you do have a TV in your room, make sure it’s turned off while you’re studying or angled away from your desk, unless you’re the kind of person who focuses well with background noise.
If it’s the internet that easily distracts you but you need to use it for studying, try using a study app that blocks distracting websites for a period of time, like StayFocused and Self-Control.
What about external factors you can’t control, like noisy housemates? You could try noise-cancelling headphones and play music to block out the noise.
But music with lyrics can be distracting too, so listening to classical or instrumental music may be better for you.
You can also try soundproofing your room by adding more furnishings like big pillows and thick rugs, and stuffing a towel under the door, as these will absorb sound. Also, try adding a humidifier, fan, or sound machine that drowns out external noise.
Keep it tidy
Keeping your desk organised and tidy actually helps you stay focused. Messiness and clutter distracts the mind, increases anxiety, and can make you feel less motivated.
Before you start your study session, clean up your desk and remove books, sticky notes, and papers that aren’t relevant. Ensure you have everything you need before sitting down to study so you’re not running around looking for things, breaking your concentration each time.
Ensure ideal lighting and temperature
It’s difficult to concentrate when you’re either too hot or too cold, or your lights are too dim. Make sure you’ve got the ideal temperature down when you’re studying and that you feel comfortable.
If it’s too hot and you don’t have AC, get a stand fan to keep you cool. Wear warm clothes and sip on hot drinks if it’s too cold and you can’t adjust the heat.
In terms of lighting, it’s best to have natural light as much as possible. Place your desk in a position where it can receive natural sunlight, like near a window.
Of course, there may be times when you don’t have natural lighting, or perhaps your room just doesn’t get any. In that case, you need to mimic natural light in your room.
You can do this by making sure your overhead and lamp light bulbs are ‘cool white’. Although people typically think yellow is closer to sunlight, cool white or bluish light is actually better.
Instead of having just one study lamp turned on, it’s better to have layers of light so your eyes are not being strained. This also minimises shadows which make it difficult to focus. Keep your overhead lights on in addition to lamps.
Make sure it’s comfortable – but not too comfortable
Many students are tempted to lie in bed and do their homework or study, but this isn’t actually the most productive space to be studying.
It’s easy to get too comfortable if you’re lying in bed with your warm comforter and soft pillows, and you can easily fall asleep. Plus, your posture suffers if you’re sitting or lying at an awkward angle while balancing your laptop or books on your lap.
You can try alternating between your desk and bed if you get too comfortable, or just make it a point to only study at your desk. Ensure you have a comfortable chair and your back is well-supported so your posture is in good form when you’re studying.
Don’t forget to take frequent study breaks to stretch and walk around as it’s also not good for your body and brain to sit for long periods at a time.