It’s often difﬁcult to use a single space for multiple purposes. This is especially the case with a dorm room that doubles as your living quarters and intended ‘study space’. Perhaps this is why the library is such a popular study location for students; it offers a separate, isolated environment, from that in which you hang out with friends, binge on Netﬂix, and get ready for parties.
However, if for some reason you dislike the library — or if you simply want to use your room more effectively — here are some tips for creating a conducive study environment:
Keep Your Room and Desk Tidy
A messy working environment will not foster productivity, so keeping both your living and workspace neat is an important ﬁrst step. Having open food packets, dirty clothes, and papers everywhere will not help you concentrate. Make sure your desk is clear and there are no distractions around when you are working. Ensure you know where everything you need for the task is before you start — there’s nothing worse than needing something mid-task and getting distracted while looking for it, it makes it harder to get back into ‘work mode’ and triggers inefﬁcient use of time. Just remember, a tidy space makes for a tidy mind.
Make Your Bed
Studies have shown that people who regularly make their beds after they wake up in the mornings are more productive and achieve more on a daily basis. This has to do with having a daily ritual that stimulates heightened productivity. Though it may seem like a menial task because “you’re just going to mess it up again when you get in bed at night”, it really makes a difference. Not only does your room look neater, it also puts you in the right mindset for the day gives you a kickstart.
From Facebook and Netﬂix to a framed picture of your best friend and your dog, there are a plethora of distractions that could pull you away from your work. Make sure that when you are starting to work, these are all hidden away or otherwise masked. Try downloading one of the many social media blocking apps to prevent you from using social media sites, such as Facebook, for certain periods of time while you study. You’ll get more done in the time you work and will consequently have more free time after.
Separate and Prioritise Tasks
It’s easy to get ﬂustered and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work and responsibilities you are burdened with as a student. Hence, it is important to organise and prioritise what you should be doing and when you should be doing it. This is especially important if you are using your room as a study space because it is most likely full of distractions and diversions that will take your mind off of your work. Having a list and knowing what you need to do will help keep you on track and get everything done in time.
Make a To-Do List and Keep an Updated Calendar
This falls under ‘prioritising tasks’ but is not limited solely to what you need to study. Maintaining a positive work space means having all your necessities in place within your room so that they are off your mind when you study. You don’t want to have to think about picking up more milk or buying more printer paper while you’re cramming for an exam. You also don’t want to keep reminding yourself of each deadline just from memory; you have better things to think of, not to mention better use for your ‘brain power’. If you have a To Do list and an updated calendar for your deadlines, you’ll more easily be on top of little tasks and big deadlines. You won’t have to worry about committing them to memory and will, therefore, have a clearer mind to apply to your studies.
File Your Notes and Papers Efﬁciently
Though it is convenient to throw your work onto your desk after a long day, only to be swallowed up and forgotten under the accumulating piles of papers and objects, you’re actually doing yourself more harm than good. Though you’re in uni and nobody will be yelling after you to clean up your room, taking an extra minute or two to ﬁle your notes or organise them in a method that works for you, will save you loads of time when you need to look over them at a later date or during exams. Not only will your room and desk be tidier, you’ll also save yourself the stress and panic of rummaging through a mess for that ‘one important paper’.
Next time you’re not feeling studying – or the concept of work at all – have a clean of your study space and see how you can use it to its full potential!
By Arianna Rossi