Your study space is a critical part of being able to study effectively and efficiently. It’s important to find an environment where distractions are minimized, and you can maximize the amount of work you get done. After all, your academic success can be easily influenced by a host of factors, including the learning environment. Therefore, where you study is equally as important as what you study.
Education is your future. What you’re learning today has a direct effect on where you’re headed tomorrow. The knowledge you gain in college is only useful if you’re able to understand it and to retain it. And the environment you choose to study this information in can have a huge impact on whether or not you’re able to do that. Here are a few other reasons finding a great study space is so important:
- It can help you to retain the information you learn.
- It can help you to learn faster.
- It can help you improve skills such as productivity and deep work.
Questions to Ask Yourself When Searching for the Perfect Study Space
Which places are you the most productive in?
Finding a great study spot is an important decision because it can affect the amount of work you are able to accomplish. Think through where you’ve been able to focus best in the past. Maybe it was at the library, a local coffee shop, or in your own room.
I prefer to study at the library because I find that there are fewer distractions, and I work well in silence or little noise. But I know plenty of people that can’t work in complete silence, so they seek out tables in coffee shops close to campus. In fact, research shows that the ambiance in coffee shops has the ability to increase creativity, alertness, and the ability to learn.
Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box for study spots, though. Try out places such as museum lobbies, hotel lobbies, bookstores, parks, community centers, or tutoring centers. Most of these places offer quiet spots that may be easy to focus in. And most of these places almost always have free wifi!
What things tend to distract you?
Next, it’s important to think through the different things that distract you. Everyone has something that easily diverts their attention and being able to identify these distractions can help you choose a study place where you can avoid them.
Does too much noise or too little noise distract you? What distracts me the most is little noise among the silence. I would rather have complete silence or abundant noise. Or is your biggest distraction having others around you? Studying alone can minimize distractions, allow you to pace yourself and improve focus.
How to Create the Perfect Ambiance for Effective Studying
Now that you’ve thought through the type of environment where you’re most productive and have a better understanding of the things that distract you, it’s time to set up your perfect study ambiance. Here are a few things to pay attention to:
The amount of research on the association with music and productivity is quite extensive. In fact, research has shown that listening to music while studying can improve attention, memory, and even the ability to lessen depression and anxiety.
I love to study to music, but it has to be the right type of music. If I choose songs that I’m familiar with or know the words to, I’ll immediately get distracted. So instead, I try and listen to classical music as I study.
The amount of foot traffic surrounding your study space is an important factor to consider. A lot of foot traffic can be distracting for most. But the same can be said for space where you’re totally alone. Finding a happy medium is the key to success and creating the perfect ambiance. For example, a small park may not be as bustling as your local Starbucks; you won’t be totally alone, but you won’t be stuck in the center of an overcrowded space either.
Temperature and Lighting
The temperature and humidity of your study space are also important to keep in mind. A space that’s too hot or too cold can become unbearable, making it nearly impossible to focus on the task at hand.
Try and find a spot where you can be in control of your environment. Being able to control the thermostat can be an easy solution to set your comfort level and minimize distractions. Research shows that the optimal room temperature for studying is 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
Additionally, try and locate an area where you can be exposed to natural lighting, as it can help to improve your alertness. In fact, natural lighting has the ability to raise cortisol levels, leaving you feeling less stressed.
Have you ever been hangry (hungry and angry)? When you were hangry were you able to stay focused and constructively work on a task? The chances are very slim that productivity is at a peak when hunger sets in.
I always come prepared with snacks and some water. Although I am not a coffee drinker, studies have shown that 200mg of caffeine allows the brain to identify words and phrases more quickly and also has the ability to improve problem-solving skills and memory. You should also consider choosing brain food that can improve your memory and focus. Some examples of excellent brain food are avocados, sunflower seeds, berries, and peanut butter.
A strong study spot will only be effective if you come prepared with everything you need to get your work done. Before hitting the books, think through each item you’re planning to get done. Then, carefully think through everything you need in order to accomplish all of the items on your list.
A Few Other Things to Consider
In order to increase productivity, studies have shown that alternating rooms can improve retention, as the brain is able to make associations between the background sensations and the material. Multiple associations caused by alternating rooms is how we are able to improve retention. Additionally, alternating material and studying distinct but related concepts can also improve retention.
Electronic devices can be extremely distracting and affect productivity levels. A study published in the Journal of Media Education reported that students spend one-fifth of their time in the classroom doing things on electronic devices that are not related to the subject matter.
And advancements in technology are not helping to solve this problem for students. In order to avoid such distractions while studying, try using a tool like RescueTime to block distracting sites while you study.
Strong wifi service
It’s incredibly frustrating to get to your study spot, get all setup to work, and then realize you’re stuck with weak wifi. Of course, there are bigger problems in the world, but this can make a big impact on your ability to check things off your to-do list. Therefore, consider the wifi connection when selecting your perfect study space.
Let’s face it– most of us can’t study just anywhere. There are simply too many things out there that can distract us and keep us from focusing on our work. But finding the perfect study space where you can have minimal distractions and maximum productivity can help you to better understand concepts and retain important information.