Tips for creating the perfect study space

Before you can revise, it’s really important to spend some time considering how to create the perfect study space.

Perfect Study Space Illustration

Having a learning environment that’s perfect for you and your individual needs can make a positive difference to your revision goals.

The perfect study space allows complete control over the levels of light, heat and noise.  It is a comfortable space with no clutter and plenty of room to work.  There are no distractions and everything needed to study is close at hand.

Below are some pointers to help you prepare and create your ideal study space.  I hope you find them useful.

Control the noise (and music)

Ideally, the perfect study space should be somewhere quiet.  A quiet place gives you the freedom to set the noise level.

However, we’re not all blessed with big houses, our own bedrooms, or have a library close at hand.  Finding somewhere quiet to study on a regular basis may be challenging.

If you can’t create a study space somewhere quiet, then music and headphones might be essential to remain focused.

But, given the choice in an ideal situation, is it wise to play music whilst studying?

This question divides opinion so you won’t find a definitive answer.

I personally study better without any background noise, including music.  I find the lyrics in music to be distracting, even with songs I know very well.

However, some people argue that background music helps them to relax and focus better.

I think everyone would agree that unfamiliar music should be avoided, so stick to the classics that you know and love.

Ultimately we’re all different, so you need to find what works best for you.  Try both and see how you get on.

Make sure there is enough light

You should aim to create a study space in a location with plenty of light.

Natural light is best.  There’s something about sunlight that keeps us chirpy, motivated and generally happier.

Of course, it’s not always sunny, or daytime.  So make sure you have access to other sources of light, like a good desk lamp.

The important thing is to make sure that you can clearly and easily see what you are reading and writing whilst you are studying.

You don’t want to be straining your eyes to see in the dark, or squinting to block the glare of the sun.  This will give you headaches and tire you out.

Get the temperature right

To remain focused, you need to make sure you are at a comfortable temperature whilst studying.

If the room is too cold, you’re going to feel very uncomfortable and will definitely struggle.

If the room is too warm, and you might start to feel sleepy!  Not great.

If you can, ask about adjusting the radiators or heating.  Open a window if you’re too hot.

The room temperature may not always be in your control but being prepared certainly is.

Think about your clothing.  What can I do to get a little warmer?  How can I cool down if I need to?  Also, be sensible, if you know the library is usually warm, don’t wear big jumpers!

Avoid distractions and interruptions

If you’re someone who dreads revision then it’s likely you’ll be very easily distracted whilst doing it.

Be smart and take precautionary steps to avoid distractions and interruptions whilst you study.

To give yourself a fighting chance, pick a study space away from distractions and likely interruptions.  Distractions can include the TV, your pets, your mates, your mum, your mate’s mum, or anything that you know deep down is going to take your attention away from the task in hand.

Put your phone on silent and consider placing it in a different room.  It will distract you, and a message will definitely interrupt you.

As a reward, maybe check your phone for just five minutes after every full hour of study.

Remove all clutter

I work best when my desk is cleared of all clutter and everything is neat and tidy.  I don’t know why, but it just helps me get down to business and focus.

I think this is true for many people.

So, before embarking on your revision, take some time to tidy up your working space and put away anything that isn’t needed for studying.

Have enough space

To study efficiently you need to have plenty of desk space in your working environment.

I know it can be difficult to find space in our homes sometimes, but do your best to eke out any space you can.

You want enough space to lay out all the materials you are using, plus maybe your computer, a drink, lamp, and stationary etc.

You may not think it matters, but imagine trying to cook a large banquet in a tiny kitchen with little counter space.  It can be done, but why struggle if you don’t need to?

Be comfortable

You need to feel comfortable in your study environment.

Chairs play a big role in allowing you to feel comfortable.  An expensive gaming chair may be a great addition to your study space, but let’s not forget that a simple dining table chair will also feel comfy with the right cushion.

What you should be avoiding are stools with no back support, or slouching on your bed at funny angles.  Try to keep good posture to remain comfortable throughout your study sessions.  It’s easy to forget about this at the time, but try not to as you may feel the consequences a few days later.

Although clothing isn’t really part of a perfect ‘study space’, it is worth mentioning that wearing comfortable and appropriate clothing can help you remain focused when studying.

Have what you need close to hand

When you’re in the zone, the last thing you should be doing is searching around for supplies or materials.

Make sure you have everything you may need in a study session close at hand.  Don’t allow yourself to be distracted just because you cannot find your calculator or writing pad etc.

Have a ‘home’ for all these essentials, right by your space.

The same goes for drinks and snacks too.  Have them ready.  Don’t try to study if you are hungry or thirsty, but don’t procrastinate by making a coffee or getting some water.

Personalise the space

You may be spending a fair bit of time in your study space.  With this in mind, why not give it the personal touch?

Maybe a small plant might feel nice, or a motivational picture on the wall?  It’s your space, so own it! (but not clutter, okay).

Note: if it’s not your space, don’t try to own it.  KFC don’t want to see you setup camp in their restaurants.

Add some variety

You may be fortunate enough to have a choice of several study spaces.

If this is the case, maybe try mixing it up a little to keep your sessions a bit more interesting.

Pick each location based on what studying needs to be done.  Some spaces are more appropriate than others for different types of tasks.

The local coffee shop might be fine for some tasks, whilst a quiet corner of the park might be better for others.

Maybe the library has a room you can book for group study?  You don’t need to go wild, but think about the benefits of mixing it up a little.

Maintain it

Okay, you’ve worked hard to create the perfect study space.  Now you need to maintain it throughout the entire exam season.

If you’ve got a desk, don’t allow it to become a dumping ground for all your random bits and bobs that you can’t be bothered putting away or sorting out (I’m totally guilty of that).

Keep it clean and clear of clutter.  It should be ready for action at all times.

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