One of the many advantages of online education is that students have the opportunity to choose the place where they attend class and do homework. You’re not locked into a small classroom for hours at a time, and you can learn at your own pace and set your own schedule.
But such freedom presents a challenge. How do you create a space where you can be most productive and avoid distractions? Online courses are just as rigorous as those in the classroom, and require an equally high level of concentration and focus.
Here are some tips for creating a study environment that works for you. Remember, everyone is different when it comes to learning — experiment to find out what works best!
What works best for you? Share pictures of your study space with other Florida Tech students on Instagram using #FLTechOnline.
If you’ve got the room for a home office, great! Otherwise, you’ll probably need to carve out some space in another room, like your kitchen, living room, bedroom — or even just a tiny nook in a hallway. An unassuming corner can even make for a highly productive study space.
Don’t Get Too Comfortable
Since you’re at home, you might be tempted to work from your sofa — or even in bed! Don’t fall into this trap, as these are spots regularly associated with relaxation, not work. Have an assigned spot for schoolwork.
Let There Be Light
Seek out a place in your home that’s bathed in natural light. Psychology Today reports that natural light can help improve productivity. Natural light can even have a positive effect on sleep and quality of life. If you prefer to do your studying at night, invest in a quality desk lamp. Overhead florescent lights can be distracting.
Get in the Zone
If you’re in a shared room, make sure you designate a separate zone as your study area. If you decide one corner of your bedroom is solely for studying, don’t also use it to apply makeup and pile up clothing.
Make It Appealing
Put your sense of style to work. Bright colors? Pastels? Geometric prints? Florals? No matter your taste, you can design a study space that matches your personality. Decorating has an additional benefit — it will help differentiate your space from the rest of the room.
Piles don’t promote productivity. Invest in shelving, storage containers and possibly even a file cabinet to keep your space organized and tidy. Even simple, basic manila folders can make a big difference.
Let Others Know
Tell members of your family that when you’re sitting in your study space, you are hard at work and would prefer not to be interrupted. This will make them think twice about coming over and distracting you. It’s perfectly acceptable to tell people to leave you alone when you’re studying.
Treat Your Ears
Play some gentle, soothing music in the background to help you focus on your school assignments. Some experts extol the virtues of classical and ambient music for improving productivity. If you prefer not to listen to music, consider playing white noise to mask distractions. A large number of apps are available to produce white noise.
No matter how well designed your study space is, you’ll need to occasionally get up and stretch. Staring at a computer screen for hours on end can hurt your eyes and cause headaches. Have a snack or go for a stroll, and then you’ll be ready to dive back into your coursework.