As the new year kicked off, you may have noticed an influx of people shopping in the active wear section of your local department store. Odds are, they’d recently joined a gym—and in an effort to stick with it, outfitted themselves in fancy new workout clothes. It’s a decent strategy: make yourself feel good, even more confident, in an effort to make working out a habit.
Study spaces aren’t so different. Whether you’re an adult learner, a high school student, or a college senior, if you’ve got a great place to learn, you’ll be more inclined to stick with the study sessions. Here is a guide to creating the perfect study space:
Find a great location
The first step in establishing a great study spot is knowing what you need as a learner. While some may function very well in a crowded coffee shop, others need the quiet of a library or the privacy of a home office. Figure out what you prefer and what is actually effective—and then begin your hunt for the perfect space.
If you’re someone who likes to learn with a lot of action around you, find a coffee shop with hours that accommodate your schedule and beverages that make your taste buds happy. Find a few tables or spaces that satisfy your study requirements and scout out when they’re generally available.
If you’re in need of a quiet space, check out places like the public library, local college campuses, and community spaces. While you won’t be able to alter these spaces per se, they’ll make great out-of-home study spots that are sure to meet your needs.
If you prefer to study in your own home, there’s plenty you can do to change up your study space—the bare minimum you need is simply a space to call your own.
Think about sound
An important aspect of your study space is how it sounds and how you deal with those sounds. For some, music provides a much-needed accomplice to study time. If you’re one of those people, try experimenting with different types of headphones (if you’re in a space where headphones are required). While earbuds work for some people, over the ear headphones are a better fit for others. Experiment with different types of music, too—lyrics can be a help or a hindrance for some people, and familiar music versus new can also have an impact on your studying brain.
You might also consider investing in some earplugs if you’re more of the silent type. This way, if you’re forced to study in an area that is loud, you’ll be covered. Additionally, you may like or benefit from the visual stimulation of a public place but prefer quiet—in that case, earplugs are the perfect solution.
It’s time to get cozy
A good study space is one that is comfortable for you personally. How do you study best? Is it when you’re reclined on a well-loved beanbag chair? Is it when you’ve got an entire kitchen table in front of you? Does it vary?
If your preferred study space is in your home, you’ll have a bit more flexibility in making the space your own. Find a comfortable space and equip it with the things you need to successfully study. This might include a chair, a desk, and even appropriate lighting. Make sure you’re not too cold or too warm (a light study jacket or a fan can help with this), and keep some healthy study snacks nearby.
Spend some time getting organized
Great study spaces are well organized, giving you peace of mind as you settle into learning. Your physical space should be organized enough so that you’ve got easy access to everything you might need. This can be accomplished via desk organizers, post-its, whiteboards, etc. A planner might also be a worthy investment. You may also benefit from access to a physical calendar.
Finally, make sure all of your electronics are in order—organize your cords and chargers so you can get to everything you need with ease. Your computer, tablet, and phone are all potential study tools, so equip your space accordingly.
Think about your view
One of the reasons some people prefer a coffee shop to a conference room is the opportunity to take in a more interesting view. If you’re working on something creative, this may be especially helpful. If your study space allows, face a window or another open space, and if it doesn’t—well, make your own!
Looking at natural landscapes can be comforting, so a poster of something scenic might help you feel more inspired. Alternatively, you may consider a mirror to enlarge and enlighten your workspace.
If you’re a committed student, you can probably study anywhere. Still, a well planned study corner will encourage you to spend the time you need to be a great student, giving you just the push you need!
Heather Hamilton is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.