One of the most important parts of online education is having a place of your own where you can focus on your schoolwork, study in comfort, and feel like you’re making progress. Before you put your laptop on the couch and decide that’s the best place to study at home, think about the tips in this study space guide. You come home from a hard day at work, grab a cup of coffee, sit down at your desk, turn on your computer to do some schoolwork, and before you know it, you’re scrolling through social media on your phone. Do you understand what that means? Because there are so many ways to learn online, it’s hard for many students to focus both in a traditional classroom setting and when they’re studying at home. You might not believe this, but where you are has a big effect on how well you can pay attention. People who already have full-time jobs or family responsibilities can benefit from getting a graduate degree online. On the other hand, if you don’t have a good place to study at home, you might not be able to get things done. If it takes you a long time to get into the right frame of mind to do schoolwork, keep reading for some ideas on how to make your study space look better.
In order to get a master’s degree through an online program, you must attend virtual lectures, hold virtual office hours with your professors using video conferencing software, turn in your assignments digitally, and take your exams digitally. When you have a place just for schoolwork, you are more likely to make better use of your time and do better work. Consider some of these ways to set up your study room for some extra ideas:
1) Make sure you have enough space
Some graduate students have trouble finding enough space to live because they have to share apartments, rooms, or even their own homes. Some students are lucky enough to have a place to study that is just for them, but others are not so lucky. If you only have a studio or one-bedroom apartment, it can be hard to find a good place to work. A hint: not on your bed. Before making a final decision about where you will do your homework and study, think about how things will work out. Can I put a desk and a chair in this room? You might have to squeeze up against a wall or a piece of furniture. A good place to study should have enough room for you to spread out your gadgets, open your books, and take notes in a notebook. Getting a desk can help you stay organized and get things done faster.
2) Make it comfortable
It’s important to have a nice, relaxing place to study, as well as enough space to spread out and all the tools you need to do your schoolwork. It’s hard to stay motivated when you’re sitting at a desk that isn’t right for you. You could try studying in bed instead of at your desk, but that’s probably not a good idea because you’ll probably end up sleeping. Make your chances of success as high as possible by making a place you’re excited to go to. Spend some time looking for a sturdy desk with a lot of space and a comfortable chair that won’t hurt your back after long hours of studying. Most gaming chairs are very comfortable, have good back support, and look good in many different kinds of rooms. Have a few blankets on hand in case it gets cold in class, and if it gets too hot, use a desk fan. Because everyone has a different idea of what makes them feel most at ease, it’s important to choose products, materials, and sizes that work best for you.
3) Keep it organized and clean
Someone with a messy desk is said to have a messy mind. This doesn’t mean you can never have anything on your desk. Instead, it means you should make sure everything is neatly filed and easy to get to. Find the things you use most often and give them a permanent place to live. When taking notes, it can be hard to find a pen that works. Keep your pens, pencils, erasers, highlighters, and other writing tools in a desk organizer. Find a pen right away so you don’t have to look all over the house. It can be very helpful to have a folder and notebook for each class. This can be used as a filing system for any documents you need to print. Don’t forget to clean up your study space by throwing away used coffee cups, food wrappers, and other trash.
4) Use the right lighting
Did you know that the lighting you use can make you more productive or less productive? Studies have shown that reading or studying in dim light makes people feel more anxious and makes it harder to remember things. This has to do with how hard it is for your eyes to make out the words in the dark. But lighting that is too bright can be distracting when it bounces off a book or computer screen, making it hard to focus. Change the lighting during study time to get the most work done. Having a reading lamp at your desk can make it easier to concentrate and lessen eye strain. With the right lighting, you can make it easier to focus and get things done.
5) Remove all distractions
Putting down the phone is one of the hardest things to learn when you’re trying to study. It’s something that everyone has done. Self-discipline is important if you want to finish an online graduate degree program. You’ll have to put in the time and effort that graduate school requires, but no one will check in on you or tell you to get things done. Be sure that your study space is only used for studying. Put your mobile device on vibrate or silent before you settle in at your desk. Because of this, you shouldn’t have to check your phone as often when you get a notification. If you live with other people, like kids or roommates, use headphones or earbuds that block out noise.
6) Buy some plants
By putting plants and flowers in your study, you can make it feel like a relaxing rainforest. You might be surprised to learn that plants have more than just a pretty look. Studies have shown that the green color of plants makes people more productive and creative. Plants help clean the air, which can help people with headaches, fatigue, and trouble concentrating. The next time you go out, pick up a few succulents for your study area.
7) Use a white noise machine
After getting rid of all the physical things in the room, you sit down to do some studying. But just as you get comfortable, something distracting happens, like your dog running around, birds singing, cars passing by, or crickets coming out. The environment around you can sometimes be more distracting than your phone. Some people find that headphones that block out noise help, while others find that machines that make white noise do the trick. White noise has been shown to help students focus in the classroom. Use it to study for that big test without being distracted.
8) Use an essential oil diffuser
Use your time studying at home to its fullest by adding aromatherapy to your routine. Rosemary, peppermint, sage, eucalyptus, lavender, and sandalwood are just some of the essential oils that have been shown to make people feel calm and help them focus. Midterms and finals are stressful times, but some essential oils can help you stay healthy and energized.
9) Create a to-do list
It’s hard and stressful to try to get things done when you don’t want to, are too busy, or can’t concentrate. If you make a list, you can organize your thoughts and break down your tasks. These lists are visual tools that can help you plan your day around the most important tasks. Every morning, write down everything you need to do that day, in order of how important it is. If something doesn’t get done, it can be added to tomorrow’s list, and let’s be honest: it feels great to cross something off your list.
10) Have a calendar nearby
Online graduate programs allow you to work and take care of your family while spending less time on the road. Spend less time getting to and from school so that you can spend more time studying. This may sound great, but if you aren’t in class, it can be easy to forget important dates like test dates if you aren’t there. Keep a calendar handy so you can write down due dates, test dates, and anything else you need to remember ahead of time. When you have a lot going on, a calendar helps you keep track of everything.
11) Personalize it
Creating a study space should be a fun and inspiring process. If you don’t like what you made, you won’t feel at home there. So, it becomes scary to think about finishing schoolwork. Make it more unique to avoid this. Make it your own by decorating it with your favorite colors and a quote that moves you. Get some inspiration from your favorite spaces. Why not go for a luxury or cozy hotel vibe? Check out Slingo.com for hotels for your inspiration.