Reviewed by Julie Vandekreke Getting your college degree means you’ll spend a significant amount of time studying the course materials to better understand the subject, prepare for exams, and writing papers. The atmosphere you create for your study time should be conducive to productive learning. Many successful online students set up a dedicated area in which to study and say it helps them stay on track with tasks and focus on their long-term goals. Here are ten common study room ideas and tips you can try to make it easier to learn class materials, discourage distractions, and make your time as productive as possible.
Popular Three Study Room Ideas
While everyone learns differently, nearly everyone will study inside their home. These common themes seem to help students get the most out of their home-based study room and time. Use these three proven tips as you settle into a study room:
- Dedicate an entire room to your schoolwork – if you have your own space, no matter how large or small, you won’t have the distraction of other people walking through, talking, watching TV, etc. Put your stamp on your space by gathering the things you’ll need to be successful. If it’s a space you have to share, you can carve out a study spot and use a schedule to ensure you can use the space on a regular basis. Finally, make sure you can shut the door and even post a note saying you’re not to be disturbed while studying!
- Keep your study room clutter free – you may argue that piles of books, paper, clothing or other items crowding your space won’t affect your ability to study. In fact, it may put you in the mood to clean! De-cluttering and re-organizing the space will help you eliminate distractions before you dedicate your time and energy to studying. Strict order can be distracting to some personality types—the key is to be comfortable in the environment so you can let your energy flow toward meeting your academic goals.
- Put away electronic devices – put your video game console, phone and other computing items out of sight. Yes, even your smartphone. They’re distractions – playing just one more game, checking text messages or reading personal emails will break your concentration on a regular basis if you allow. If you must check your notifications, incorporate regular breaks to do so. Instead of being a slave to your devices, make them work for you and reward yourself by using them only after putting in some productive study time.
4 Study Room Environment Tips
Now that you have a space in mind and some ideas about how to make the area work for you, here are some environmental tips you may not have considered when setting aside your ideal study room:
- Lighting – a dimly-lit room doesn’t encourage good study habits, but it will encourage sleep. Make sure the light is bright enough to clearly read your books, computer screen, etc. without extra effort morning, noon and night.
- Décor – Walls and ceilings that are light colored add to the natural lighting in your study room. Off-white, light gray, white with just a hint of blue – these are all good wall colors that brighten up a room while keeping you calm and focused.
- Noise – some people think they can study and listen to their favorite music, but experts advise you’re better off keeping the room quiet as you study. Any noise is a distraction, even if you enjoy the sound. Noise canceling headphones can help silence a busy household.
- Room temperature – too hot and you’ll get drowsy, too cold and you’ll need a blanket. Consider what temperature works for you. Being comfortable means you’re concentrating on what’s important – homework, research papers, math problems, etc.—not how hot or cold you are.
Study Room Ideas For Your Body And Mind
Finally, now that you’ve optimized your study room, make sure to use these study tips and techniques to keep you motivated to learn productively:
- Take breaks – push back from your desk every thirty minutes or so for about ten minutes. Get up, stretch, walk around, use the restroom, play with your pet. The break helps you mentally and physically so you’re ready to re-engage when you return.
- Eat and drink – before settling into your study room, eat and drink so you’re comfortable. There’s nothing worse than being hungry – all you can think about is that piping hot pizza slice, or that chunk of triple chocolate cake. At the same time, overeating can make you sleepy, so keep your appetite balanced. Keep your favorite study drinks at hand, and remember water is a always a great option.
- Compartmentalize – by this, we mean leave your personal problems and other distractions outside the study room door. Clear your mind of distractions as much as you possibly can. Keep the bigger picture in mind and visualize how getting your college degree means career opportunities and better earning potential.
Having a dedicated study area can be critical for understanding course materials and passing your classes with confidence. Use what strategies you can and adjust them until they work well for you in your circumstance. While you may not be able to use every tip here, adding just a few can make difference in your concentration and habits and help propel you toward your degree. Looking for more study space ideas while taking courses online, check out our article on Study Spaces for Online Learners. Like to give online courses a try? Sign up for a StraighterLine Free Trial today!