Tips for Creating a Workspace/Study Zone
Where you work/study is as important as how you work/study! Intuitively, we know this. How many people do you know choose to write a major paper or study for a big exam in the middle of a family BBQ? They would be sorely hindered in their quest to stay focused and retain key details! While the rare few may be able to work/study anywhere (just like the lucky handful who can sleep anywhere…), the majority of us need a designated workspace/ study zone – it’s one of the keys to our success. Here are few hints for creating your own ideal space.
Comfortable:create a space where you can “work/study” comfortably, just make sure it’s not too comfortable! Your comfort level can be affected by many things: overall space, furniture, room temperature. An ideal workspace is a large enough to spread your work out, if the space is too confined you won’t want to spend time there. Poorly chosen furniture can also greatly impact your overall comfort. Pick furniture that is comfortable enough to work sustained periods of time, but not so comfortable it entices you to nap! Finally, room temperature. Just like the three bears the optimal temperature is one that is just right – not too hot and not too cold.
Lighting:find the right light. We often use light to set “the mood” for a variety of settings. When setting up your workspace/study zone look for enough light to avoid straining your eyes and a way to incorporate natural daylight. Studies have found that daylight or 6500 K light bulbs (mimics daylight) supported students’ performance during intensive academic activities. Natural light is a simple way to set “the mood” and boost productivity.
Organized: create a space for the essentials. Your workspace should have defined places for notebooks, writing utensils, and important papers. This is an easy, quick way to keep everything you need close at hand.
Visual:find a visually sparse space. While a room full of artwork can be appealing, recent studies have found that a heavily decorated room can affect a student’s ability to stay focused and how much they learn. Remember, kids are more easily distracted than adults. For kids with ADHD or dyslexia, it can be doubly so. In this case, less is more!
Noise:find or create a space with little to no background noises. You may think listening to music on your headphones or in the background is helpful, it’s not. You are essentially asking your brain to work on two separate tasks simultaneously, neither receiving your full attention. However, a set of noise cancelling headphones can be helpful in certain instances: e.g. youcan’t block out the conversation in the next room over.
Phone:turn off your phone and leave it in another room! Researchers have found that keeping your phone in the same room as you can be highly distracting, even if it’s turned off and tucked away. They found participants who were asked to keep their phone in another room “significantly outperformed” those participants who had their phones readily available, off or on. Just knowing it’s there and anticipating possible notifications is a distraction in itself – turn off your phone and keep it out of the room!
Organization: keep your space clutter free. When you don’t have a place for your things (pencils, notebooks, etc.) it can be not only visually distracting, but also unproductive; you add minutes on to each task hunting for essential tools.
What do you consider to be essential pieces for creating an ideal workspace/study zone?