From Eliminating Distractions to Emphasizing Comfort – How to Create the Perfect At-Home Study Space
Spacing out study sessions over a longer period of time improves long-term memory, notes the American Psychological Association (APA). However, for students who don’t have a designated study space, having effective and productive study sessions can become a real challenge. From the value in having a distraction-free place to study to how the inclusion of plants can help — and even how you can transform the space into a comfortable place to get work done, here are just three simple ways that you can create the ideal study environment.
A distraction-free zone
Choosing a designated study space is a great place to start, though ensuring it’s a distraction-free zone is imperative in creating the most effective environment to get work done. This is particularly important, as the typical student is distracted for at least five out of every 15 minutes set aside to study, according to research conducted by Dr. Larry Rosen, professor emeritus at California State University, Dominguez Hills. While this is most often as a result of texting and social media use, other potential distractions can include other people and noises at home. When looking for the perfect study space, opting for a spot that’s away from high-traffic areas of the home (like the kitchen) can certainly help.
Altering your desk setup can also make a difference when looking to create a distraction-free zone. For example, drawers can allow you to put your phone on silent mode and out of sight, and having a fully stocked desk (with paper, pencils, noise-canceling headphones, etc.) can ensure you won’t need to step away during a study session. Keeping a clean study space can further aid in eliminating distractions as well as diminishing anxiety — according to one article from Maryville University, regularly dusting or wiping down the study area can help alleviate stress and create a study environment that’s more effective.
Finding your focus
While keeping a bottle of water and noise-canceling headphones at your desk can help in creating a more productive study environment, adding a real (not plastic) plant to the mix can bring a few surprising benefits itself. Healthline cites one study, which involved 23 participants. In the study, researchers put students in a classroom with either a fake plant, a real plant, a photo of a plant, or no plant. The results found that rain scans of the participants who studied with real plants in the classroom were actually more “attentive and better able to concentrate” than those in the other groups.
Surprisingly enough, scents may also help when aiming to find your focus while studying. According to the International Journal of Neuroscience, participants exposed to the aroma of peppermint and peppermint oil experienced enhanced memory, increased alertness, and increased processing speeds. The University of Michigan article further goes on to highlight additional benefits of scents, noting that scents can have a positive effect on stress reduction, mood, self-confidence, and cognitive performance, according to Theresa Molnar, Sense of Smell Institute.
The value in creating comfort
Creating a comfortable study space is key in not only ensuring that the environment is comfortable enough to spend several hours studying at a time but can work to create a space that you actually want to use on a regular basis. Personalizing your setup with decor, for instance — like pictures of family/friends, a candle, and other small items (such as nicknacks) can all help to create a warm and cozy atmosphere. During the winter months (or when the AC becomes a bit too much), adding a warm blanket and a plush rug can further make for a desk area that caters to your comfort. And, while ergonomic desk chairs can make sitting more comfortable (and work to support your back), having good posture while sitting can also make a major difference in staying comfortable as you work. According to the Mayo Clinic, this includes adjusting the height of the chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor, relaxing your shoulders, and ensuring that the top of your monitor is at or slightly below eye level — to name just a few tips.
Creating the ideal study environment might sound like a major undertaking, though the endeavor can be made easy in a few simple ways. From choosing a quiet space to set up a clean and organized desk — and opting for additions like plants (as well as items for comfort) you can create the ideal study space in no time at all.