Studying plays a key role in the quality of your education and you want to create an environment that encourages the learning processes. According to CBS News, the way you learn when multi-tasking or sitting in a distracting environment differs from your ability to learn in a quiet space without distractions.
Turning on a radio, the television or surfing the Internet while you study actually prevents you from being able to recall information or use information effectively at a future time. As a result, you do not learn effectively and you may face challenges when working on class projects or taking a test.
Creating a study spot that helps you focus will impact your ability to learn and help you reach your educational goals.
Start with a Quiet Space
Loud sounds, a television or playing music in the background distracts from studying. It pulls your attention away from your current projects or textbooks. According to Cornerstone University, a quiet space helps you focus and makes you more effective when you study.
As a general rule, stay away from college dorms, coffee shops or similar locations. Select a quiet area that does not have others coming into your space to cause distractions. Avoid public spaces, like a coffee shop, to prevent others from striking up a conversation, causing excessive background noise or hearing music over a speaker system.
Ideally, you want a space that limits background noises. A library is a good choice, particularly if you need to work on a group project or you need access to books and other resources. Classrooms in your school may also work when you need to work on a group project, but want to limit the distractions in the space.
Stop the Interruptions and Distractions
Interruptions and distractions take more forms than you may expect. According to NBC News, the average student only focuses for around two minutes before they are distracted by social media or other technological tools. When you want to create an effective study spot, you must eliminate the distractions and interruptions.
Put your phone away or turn it off. Stay away from the computer unless you are researching a topic for your class. Keep the door to your study spot closed when you are home or sit away from the front doors when you are studying in a library. By preventing distractions, you learn the information at a faster pace and you’ll see positive results on your tests and projects.
Make Your Study Spot Comfortable
The ultimate study spot is comfortable, but only within a reasonable level. Ideally, you want a chair with great lumbar support to prevent back pain when you work on a project or study from a textbook for several hours. You also want to balance the temperature in the space for comfort without feeling too hot. The best temperatures prevent shivering or discomfort without getting so warm that you feel sleepy.
When you set up a space for you to focus on a project or task, you want a welcoming area that makes you feel comfortable. It is your personal space where you can focus on accomplishing tasks, learning new information or developing your skills. Do not make the space so uncomfortable that you want to run away or you feel that studying or even entering the space is a chore.
Keep it Clean and Organized
According to Concordia University, staying organized in your study spot allows you to quickly find your assignments and course work. It prevents you from losing information, paperwork or projects.
The ideal space will not have any clutter, messes or sticky substances on the desk. You also want to keep your computer organized with proper files to prevent losing information, projects or study materials that you keep in a digital form.
Set Rules for Your Spot
Rules are the foundation of an effective space because it gives you a clear direction for your space. Set rules that make sense for your schedule and study goals. For example, set a rule that you cannot bring your phone into the space or tell friends and family that they are not allowed to enter the space when you have the door closed.
The goal of your rules is effective studying when you are in your study spot. You want to set clear standards for your space and keep to the rules. The ideal rules are simple, easy to follow and allow you to stick to your study schedule.
Create a Study Schedule
The study schedule is a tool you use in your space to make the most of your time. The ideal schedule is a fixed time when you study on a regular basis. For example, if you schedule your study time for after dinner, then always study at the same time each day. Finish a meal and then enter your space. Select a time that works for your class schedule, work schedule and personal preferences.
While the schedule helps you set a time to focus on projects and homework, it also prevents you from feeling overwhelmed. The schedule gives you clear breaks and lets you break down your workload for more effective results. Instead of focusing on the entire project or every task you must complete for your upcoming classes, you focus on a small portion of the task. Regular breaks allow you to stay on track for your goals.
A simple schedule is working for 30 minutes and then taking a 5 to 10 minute break. Get up and stretch your legs before you start on the next 30 minute increment. You can break it down into 15 minutes of study and 5 minute breaks, one hour of study and 10 minute breaks or any other strategy you prefer and enjoy. Focus on a strategy that works with your personal preferences and cycles. If you notice your attention waning after 15 minutes, then create a schedule that gives you a break when your attention starts to waver.
The ultimate study spot is a quiet, comfortable and distraction free space that allows you to focus. By keeping your space organized and ensuring that you follow a set of rules and a study schedule, you can improve your ability to focus and learn.