With Curtin University going fully online for safety reasons, all students have been left to study and learn from home. Although some may thrive from a home environment, staying focussed and motivated is a challenge for others. No need to fear, CMA is here to help you create the ultimate study space at home!
It all starts with the environment in which your study area is. Everyone has their own preference, but first and foremost we recommend picking an area that is quiet. Although working in front of the tv may seem like a good idea, it often comes at the price of being easily distracted. If you don’t like working in dead silence, Spotify has a range of amazing study playlists that have you covered. Lyricless music is known to be the best choice as our brains struggle to take on meaning from two sources at once (Bridgestock 2014). Check out the study playlist below!
Next you want an area that’s comfortable. While your bed may be the comfiest choice, mixing your study and sleep area runs the risk of ruining both your productivity and your sleep (Caldwell 2018). The lounge may also be comfortable but the tv could prove to be a distraction if you aren’t self-disciplined. Instead, opt for a desk/table and a chair that you could sit in for hours. If you’re comfortable you’re more likely to get into a “flow like” state and be able to smash out those assignments.
A good chair is also important so you can have a good posture, which is essential for maintaining a healthy body. If you’d like to learn more, check out the Ted-ed video below.
Lastly, pick somewhere with good natural light. We all know how easy it is to fall asleep in a dark movie theatre, so don’t make the same mistake with your study area. Sunlight not only makes us feel happier, but it can also help with sleep levels and health, while also telling our bodies it’s time to work (Briggs 2010). If you’re someone who may get distracted by looking out a window, face your space adjacent to it to minimise distractions without adding glare to your laptop screen.
So, you’ve got the perfect space to have your desk, but what about the desk itself? Start off with a clean and clutter free area. As they say, a clear desk equals a clear mind. If you are someone who likes to spread out when you study, just make sure you tidy everything up at the end of the day, so every day is a fresh start. Having everything organised will mean that you can find supplies easily and save time looking.
When placing a desk in a room, we often just think of putting it up against the wall. Did you know that this is not the best way to orientate a desk? You should ideally have your desk facing into the room.
If you’re a feng shui person the position of your desk is very important (read more on Marie Burgo’s Design blog), but there are also some health benefits. Scientists have found that screens can lead to dry, irritated and tired eyes. Therefore looking five metres away for at least twenty seconds after looking at a screen for 20 minutes is important (Healthline n.d.).
You’ll also want to have everything close by to your desk. Think pens, paper, textbooks, a bottle of water and small snacks (though not too much that they’ll distract you). By having everything at your desk, you are less likely to get up and walk away from your desk, getting distracted in the process. It has also been proven that when you’re working on multiple things at once, it actually takes you longer to complete tasks because of the time it takes your brain to swap from one thing to another (Cherry 2020).
Now let’s get onto the fun part, stationary! Setting up your study area is the perfect excuse to shop online at Typo! Take this time to personalise your area but also to make sure you have the essentials. Start by having a planner or calendar to keep track of tasks. By seeing the due dates you’ll be able to prioritise tasks and know what needs to be done by when.
For this reason, a month view or yearly calendar is great because it gives you a broader overview. Maybe have a whiteboard on the wall next to your desk. A calendar will also allow you to take into account other events or work. For example, you’ll be able to go to that party on Saturday night, but you have to study Friday night to make sure you don’t get behind in your assignments.
Have a small notebook nearby. If you have something that comes to mind suddenly, you can write it down straight away so you don’t forget. Scientists have also proved that writing down notes has many benefits, including improving memory recall and critical thinking, especially if different coloured pens are used (Pens n.d.). Another reason to buy exciting, fun stationary from Typo!
The last essential item is a clock. This will help you keep track of time, as time management is critical when studying at home. Breaks are essential, so use this clock to manage your time. Yes, you could use your phone to see the time, but by using a clock instead, you’re not going to get distracted by notifications on your phone!
We hope you’ve enjoyed these tips to creating the ultimate study space. If you follow any of our suggestions, send us a photo of your desk so we can share it on our social media as inspiration for others. Happy studying!
Bridgestock, Laura. 2014. “What’s the Best Music for Studying?” Top University. https://www.topuniversities.com/blog/whats-best-music-studying
Briggs, Joanna. 2010. “The effects of exposure to natural light in the workplace on the health and productivity of office workers: a systematic review protocol.” JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports 8(16): 1-19. https://journals.lww.com/jbisrir/fulltext/2010/08161/the_effects_of_exposure_to_natural_light_in_the.5.aspx
Caldwell, Emily. 2018. “Sleep in bed, don’t study in it.” The Daily Texan, November 13, 218. https://thedailytexan.com/2018/11/13/sleep-in-bed-dont-study-in-it
Cherry, Kendra. 2020. “How Multitasking Affects Productivity and Brain Health.” Very Well Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/multitasking-2795003
“The Dos and Don’ts of Desk Placement in your home office.” n.d. Marie Burgos Interior Design. Accessed March 29, 2020. https://www.marieburgosdesign.com/interior-designer-marie-burgos-design-blog/328
National Pen. n.d. “The Benefits of Handwriting vs. Typing [Infographic].” National Pen (blog). https://www.pens.com/blog/the-benefits-of-handwriting-vs-typing/