Decorating for a Study Sesh: How to Make a Productive Space

By Debora V. Aberastury on February 7, 2021

Distractions are everywhere…or so it seems, at least when it’s time to crack open a book or open up the laptop to start researching for a paper or to test prep for an exam.

Although it is not foolproof, changing your environment could bring a boost of energy when it’s time to study, write, or do anything that requires a great deal of concentration.

Photo by Elsa Noblet on UnSplash

Especially during the pandemic, though, you may not have a designated place to study. Heading to the library or anywhere public is likely (and shouldn’t be) not to be a choice. Depending on when you’re reading this, finding a place somewhere outdoors may not be ideal (either far too cold or far too hot).

The best thing you can do firstly: find a place to sit comfortably that is not the room you sleep in.

Think about carving out a small section of the living room or the basement, and making it your designated study space. Don’t set yourself up in a place where you can’t keep yourself permanently, like the kitchen — the idea of setting yourself up in a specific place to study means not having to worry about moving things in and out of that area.

In the worst-case scenario, you can always have all of your desk things easily movable. Think of only using a few items or have some sort of container to put your desk things when not in use.

Photo by Vadim Sherbakov on Unsplash

Don’t have any other space but the room you sleep in? Make sure your desk is separated enough from your bed, and don’t — I repeat, don’t — study or work while on your bed. Although it’s incredibly comfortable, surely, studying in bed will make your body associate the bed as a place to work, not sleep.

For your study area, make sure to get a chair you feel comfortable enough to sit in for a long while, and — added bonus — isn’t a distraction in itself. If sitting on a stability ball or a chair that rocks are a distraction, find another chair or spot to sit in. If your preferred method of sitting while studying is laying on your stomach or sitting on the floor, adjust to make that work. No judgment here.

Give your study area everything that you need to study and/or write. Get an old mug or a tin can to put your pens and highlighters in. Throw in a pair of scissors, stapler, glue, tape — whatever you need to be successful in your studying pursuits. Even if you don’t think you need it at that precise moment, get it together and put it near your study area. You don’t want to give yourself an excuse to go on an hours-long (exaggerating here) search for something mundane.

Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

And plants…..real plants. Add them to your study space. Studies have shown that houseplants can improve both productivity and concentration up to 15%. They also reduce stress levels and boost your mood — two immensely important things as you study.

Even if you have plenty of lights, adding some string lights around your area can help set a calming mood to study. Or even a cool lamp that can help set a calming mood or any little extras — whatever makes the environment feel comfortable. Think pictures, motivational art, colorful desk pieces, even stress balls.

If you’re like me, you may want everything to be coordinated when it comes to decor. Something to keep in mind: add ALL the color possible. Color can evoke emotions, including sparking creativity and enough tranquility to do the work you need to do. Even if it’s just a colorful pair of scissors or colorful folders for your notes, find everywhere you can to add color to your space.

What should you avoid in your study area? Above all, a television, if you can help it. If you intend to work with the TV as background noise, you may want to turn your back on it so you won’t end up watching it rather than working, or just listen to music as background noise instead.

And remember: changing your environment isn’t foolproof. You won’t become a studying machine overnight with some changes, but having a stable, comfortable space to study is a good place to start for a successful study sesh.

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