How to make the perfect study station at home

We’re all going to be spending quite a bit of time at home over the next few weeks, and maybe even months.

For those of you who can’t go to school anymore, this might be quite frustrating, especially if you usually get most of your studying done out of the house.

There are small steps you can take however, to ensure your study space at home helps you feel motivated and keeps you focused.

Pick your office

While staying tucked up in bed to revise can seem like a very tempting and comfortable option, it might not actually be the best one.

Sleep scientists say that by only sleeping while in bed, and avoiding watching TV, going on your phone or doing work, you help your body to associate that place with sleep. This can then make it much easier to doze off at night. Otherwise, you might find yourself staying up in the wee hours, feeling rather wired.

It may be cosy, but it may not be the most productive way to study

This could potentially work in reverse too: if you create a space for yourself that you only ever use for work, you might come to associate it with that, and feel more motivated when you’re in it.

This could be on your kitchen or dining room table - use one end as a workstation, and maybe use the other end at meal times, to keep them separate.

If you’d prefer to be in your bedroom (away from pets and siblings for example), use a desk, and resist the temptation to crawl back under the duvet with your flashcards.

Keep it tidy

A messy desk isn’t just horrible to look at.

Although some people may find they work just fine in mess, studies have shown that there are correlations between messiness and procrastination. Think about it - tidying is never fun, and if your mess is getting in the way of you getting work done, then by putting off tidying, you might be putting off work too.

Having to wade through lots of mess can just make it longer to get things done anyway, even if you’re feeling super motivated. The longer you take frantically searching for your favourite highlighter, the longer it’ll take to finish your work.

So, it’s important to keep things organised. Use folders if you have them, or just keep things in neat piles ordered by subject. If you have a lot of notes, it might help to only put out the things you need for the subject you’re studying that day, and keep everything else out of the way in a drawer.

Finally, a good way to keep on top of the mess is to allocate 10 minutes or so at the start of each day to organise your space.

Sit up straight

We’ve all been there: the longer a day drags on, the deeper you find yourself sinking into your chair.

It can feel like the most comfortable position, and to be honest, anything to make Pythagoras' theorem feel less painful you’ll likely try. However, this can lead to some seriously bad back problems in the long run.

It may not seem like an issue now, but the NHS says slouching causes strain to muscles in your back, which eventually start to hurt. Believe us, you don’t want to spend your adult life moaning about how sore your back is.

The best thing to do is sit up straight as much as possible. If you have a supportive office chair then definitely use it, otherwise try popping a pillow at the lowest point of your back to give yourself some extra support.

Let there be light

Have you ever felt that, during the winter months, getting out of bed feels so much harder because it’s dark in the morning?

Well, this is because light helps us suppress melatonin, which is a hormone that tells us when we need to go to bed. When there’s less light, melatonin is released, and it’ll gradually start to make you feel more sleepy. It’s why most people don’t tend to sleep with the big light on (unless you’re really afraid of the dark).

Studying by a window: good. Getting help with maths: very good!

To stay alert in the day then, it’s a good idea to pick a spot that offers a lot of natural daylight; by a window for example.

Remove distractions

You might think you can resist the temptation of a new notification on your lock screen, but chances are you’ll eventually succumb, check it, and before you know it, you’ll have spent three hours on TikTok.

The best thing to do is to remove the temptation entirely, and make your study station a completely tech-free zone. If you’re revising in the living room, turn the telly off. If you’re revising in your room, pop your phone in a drawer, in the kitchen.

If you’re worried about your friends not being able to get hold of you, just make sure to let your various group chats know that you won’t be replying for a couple of hours (or until whenever your scheduled study break is). In an emergency, they can always contact your parent or guardian to let them know they really need you.

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