By CSU Global - May 22nd, 2019
Certain things are guaranteed in life — and no, we’re not just talking about death and taxes. As you pursue your online degree, it’s guaranteed that you’ll need to commit time to studying. No matter the degree you’re pursuing — whether undergraduate, graduate, or certificate — you’ll spend time each week going over notes, prepping for an exam, or engaging in research for a project.
But did you know that the space you choose to work in has a big impact on your productivity? According to a Harvard study, a messy workspace is more than just distracting — it can outright prevent you from completing tasks.
Some small tweaks to your study space can help you stay focused, retain information better, and improve your overall morale while studying. If you’re guaranteed to be spending time on studying, you may as well enjoy it. Here are our top five tips for getting your study space organized and optimized for studying.
Clean It Up
It wouldn’t be right if we started anywhere else — if you want to introduce some more productivity to your study space, you need to give it a good tidying. Take a look at what’s on your desk. Do you use it as a catch-all? Are there old wrappers, tea mugs, notebook shreds, tissues, or other items in the way? Remove anything unnecessary to studying, and commit to keeping your study materials within reach.
Now give your desk a good wipe with a gentle cleaning solution and dust it. Studies have shown that people with tidier homes have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol — a periodic wipe-down of your study space could make a huge difference! By cleaning up your desk, you’ll decrease the number of distractions at hand, and you won’t waste any time looking for a critical note or a pen — it’ll be right where you left it.
Looking for more inspiration about tidying up? You might get inspired by Marie Kondo, the Japanese organizing consultant and bestselling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Don’t Look Down — At Your Computer!
Did you know that for optimal efficiency and posture, your computer monitor needs to be at eye-level. Chances are, if you’re reading this on your laptop, you’re looking down at it, since it’s resting on your (now clean) desk. But to keep your posture aligned, and improve blood flow to your brain, it’s a good idea to bring the height of your desk up a bit. No need to purchase a fancy riser — even stacking a few books underneath your laptop will bring it up to where it needs to be.
Introduce Some Plants
Houseplants are fantastic for creating a relaxing environment that reduces stress and fatigue. But did you know, having plants around your study space can increase your productivity? According to a University of Exeter study, productivity can jump up to 15% just by the mere presence of houseplants in the study or workspace. So, the next time you’re out and about, consider grabbing some low-maintenance houseplants to brighten your study space.
Rethink Your Chair
Numerous studies have linked sitting to negative health effects — too much sitting has even been linked to Alzheimer’s. Even more, sitting in a “bad” chair can lead to fatigue, musculoskeletal injuries, poor circulation, and more. But there’s good news: The right chair can increase your happiness level and boost your productivity.
There are plenty of options for traditional-style desk chairs, but explore some other options while you’re at it. Consider using a balance ball for stretches of time while at your desk, or explore some of the more creative desk chair options. The key takeaways are to ensure your feet are firmly planted on the floor and to keep your posture in mind as you’re studying. If you’re ready to go sans chair, standing desks are great options and are widely available online.
Situate Your Desk Appropriately
If possible, study in a space near windows. Being near (or in) natural light has many health benefits, and being able to rest your eyes by glancing outside can help keep them from growing fatigued. The less time you spend fatigued, and the more benefits you can absorb from your proximity to natural light, the more productive you’ll be.
Last but not least, where your desk is placed in a room matters. Try to avoid a setup in which your back is to the door — this can lead to increased levels of cortisol and can negatively impact your productivity. If there’s no way to arrange your room to avoid this setup, take a page out of the feng shui guidebook and place a small mirror on your desk to reflect what’s happening behind you.
With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to less stressful, more productive study sessions. How do you stay focused while studying? Comment below!
The CSU Global staff continually researches topics that are of interest to CSU Global students. Our goal is to support student success and learning outcomes.