Whether you have been a student for a while or you’ve decided to start studying again after a long break, creating the perfect study environment at home is imperative to better learning strategies, understanding your materials and passing with success.
There’s more to creating a study space than just setting up a desk in your home. While this may seem like the obvious first step for many people, there are a few factors that can help you to study more efficiently and have a learning space you can be truly proud of.
Create an ergonomic workspace
Having a safe and healthy study environment immediately means you have a productive study space. No matter what size room you have for studying, creating a space that is ergonomic will help you to study comfortably.
One of the keys to better ergonomics is to have the right chair. Choose a chair that can be adjusted to help you sit at your desk in the most natural position possible. Your wrists, hands and forearms should be straight, in-line and parallel to the floor.
Adjustable desks are also a great addition to your space, particularly a desk that can also convert into a standing desk. These desks allow you to adjust their height so you can stand and work. Sitting for several hours at a time is bad for your body, so switch up your study routine. This gives you room to be more active and keep your circulation flowing throughout the day and lengthy study sessions.
Other items to consider include your mouse and keyboard. There are many ergonomic choices on the market. Most of them may look a little strange, but they’re actually designed to place the user in the best possible position that allows you to sit in a more natural position.
Finally, consider the lighting and temperature of your study area. Consult with an interior designer to get your lighting placed at a perfect spot. There is nothing worse than having to sit at a desk to study when it is either too cold or too hot and the lighting just isn’t right. By installing additional cooling/heating and extra lighting (if needed), you can have a comfortable and productive study space.
Adopt an agile work policy
Originally used in the software development industry, agile processes have been used by many companies, industries and now, homes, in order to get through difficult and/or technical projects. Studying can be an overwhelming task and if you’re studying via distance education or self-paced learning, the challenges can be quite difficult to conquer.
Adopting an agile work policy in your studies can mean:
- You have a solid understanding of what is required of you and in what order of importance those tasks are
- Transparency to see where your study efforts are going
- Tracking your progress in real-time
- Better focus on your tasks
- A clear understanding of execution order
It can be as simple as using a whiteboard/corkboard or a large sheet of paper on your wall. Using three columns, you will have a ‘to do’ column, an ‘in progress’ column and a ‘completed’ column’.
The ‘to do’ column will give you a visual representation of the tasks you need to do for your studies and, if you use post-it notes to write your tasks down, you can easily re-arrange your notes to show which tasks are top priority, and which ones can wait.
As you complete tasks, you can move them to the ‘in progress’ column and when completed, the third and last column. Another great reason to use this method is so that anyone else in your family (kids or your partner) can see exactly what’s on your plate and whether they need to give you some space with your studies!
Scrum is an agile framework for completing complex projects. Whether you want to use Scrum as a way to get through your home tasks and studies, or whether you want to utilise that knowledge for the workforce, there’s no doubt that adopting an agile work policy at home can help you to stay focused on all of your tasks.
Reduce any distractions
Studying at a university or education facility can be distracting at the best of times. At home, it seems anything and everything in the house is trying to lure you away from your good intentions of studying hard.
Whether it’s binge-watching Netflix all afternoon or simply just household chores like the laundry, there are several ways you can eliminate these distractions to help you study better.
When setting up your study space, choose an area of the home that is away from family members who may be moving through the house. Therefore, a corner of the main living room may not be ideal. If you have a space that is away from the main home (such as a granny flat or a basement), this could be a perfect place to set up. Just make sure your space is ergonomic with plenty of light and fresh air! This way other people (or pets) aren’t likely to distract you while you’re trying to study.
Creating your own “study hours” will also be helpful. Creating a schedule for your studies will help you to be more focused during those times, as they have been deliberately set aside for your studies. It can also help other family members understand that it’s an important time for you to catch up on studies and know not to distract you.
Stay up-to-date with the latest news, learning hubs and courses
Increasing your knowledge is something that will always pay off throughout your lifetime. A part of studying more means staying up-to-date with the latest in news, courses and resources that can help you with work and future studies.
Google have a number of handy resources, including Digital Garage. Here, you can indulge in free courses to help you stay up-to-date on everything from social media, emailing and Adwords certifications.
Reading articles and news stories from sites such as Copyblogger, Forbes, Entrepreneur and Tim Ferriss and the Four Hour Work Week will help you to stay in the loop with everything related to business, psychology, productivity and even how to improve your writing.
Whether you’re just a student or you’re studying towards starting your own business, keeping up-to-date with the latest news and views can help you understand more about your industry.
If you love studying but can’t find the time to go to a university or college every week, online studies may be the perfect choice for you. Because you have the perfect office and study area set up in your home and you know how to better manage your time and be free of distractions, studying online couldn’t be easier. There are a wide range of education providers who offer educational resources completely online.
It doesn’t matter if you plan on studying one course or a few, having the perfect set-up at home can give you a personal edge to help you study better and productively. From setting up your office in the best area of the home, to better time and activity management, ergonomic furniture and the right online course, you’ll be able to study efficiently, all from the comfort of your own home.