Creating a study space in the comfort of your own home is always an important habit to form, but it is especially crucial during this pandemic. The pandemic has been negatively impacting everyone’s study habits. From procrastination, to poor time management, all the way to ineffective study strategies. Luckily, one of the first steps you can take to get back in the right direction is to create a study space. An effective study space has the potential to kickstart your other study habits for the better.
Organize your desk. Make sure the area that you will do your work is a clean space and rid of any distractions. Put your phone away and/or any games you have out. You want to put writing utensils in a pencil holder, consolidate sticky notes to reduce clutter, and only have out the materials you need for the task at hand. A clean space allows for maximal productivity and accountability. When you have a space that is appealing and cleanly, you are more inclined to complete the goals you’ve set out to accomplish.
Set the vibes. In addition to an organized desk, you want to ensure the space around you is generating positive vibes. If you have a window near your space, open the blinds and let in the sunlight if it’s during the day. You can also leave it open at night to have some sort of view while you work, assuming it’s peaceful and calm. Make sure your room is at the right temperature so that you are able to focus strictly on your work and that you have a chair that is not too comfortable, but comfortable enough. A chair that’s too comfortable may make it easier to relax and slack off on your study plan. If it’s not too comfortable, then you’re going to stay mindful of your comfort level and be motivated to finish what you set out to do. Finally, adjust the lighting in your room throughout your study session as the time changes throughout the day. For example, when it’s bright and sunny and you have a window open, you may not need any lighting; but when the sun is setting, you may want to turn on a lamp.
Productive study time. Once you have a clean and organized space, you can direct your attention to planning an effective study session to declutter your mind and get yourself in the proper headspace to be productive. You want to be sure to put your devices on silent/do not disturb and/or use a time block app to make the most of your session. The Pomodoro method is a great time-management skill to implement into your routine (using a timer to break your work down into intervals) to be even more efficient. Finally, you want to have zero to minimal ambient sounds to set the mood and close all non-work related tasks to prepare you to focus.
20-20-20 Rule. Finally, the 20-20-20 rule is a way to help eliminate eye strain which is especially important amidst this pandemic since we’re all continuously staring at screens. While you’re studying at your newly designated study space, follow this rule: every 20 minutes you spend staring at a screen, try to look away at something that is 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds. Why 20 seconds? It takes approximately 20 seconds for your eyes to completely relax. By following this rule, you’re simultaneously being mindful of your eye health and being efficient.
Written by Sanjana Kumar
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*This is an opinion post. While the topics described here are mostly based on research, please keep in mind not to assume all of the information described above is factual.
Schedule a 1:1 with a Study Skills Advisor and receive personalized advice on improving your study habits at guts.wisc.edu/study/ss.