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Studying Smart: Create a Workspace

Create a Workspace
It is important to create a workspace that works for you. There are many ways that you can improve your study habits by improving your workspace.

Places to Study

The Library

Create a little nook within the library that feels like your own. Find a place (and time) in the library where there are less people to distract you. Consider finding a place that is quiet, spacious enough to allow room to spread out your materials, and empty of a lot of distractions.

Academic Buildings

Find another place on campus, such as lounges and open spaces. Studying in an academic building can also be useful when preparing for an exam, because it simulates the test conditions and is a great way to combat text anxiety.


If you want to study off-campus (somewhere like a coffee shop), treat it like an office. When you go there, you will be working on your tasks and nothing else. The key to studying is focusing on the task at hand and not letting distractions get the better of you. 

General Study Tips

Make sure your study materials are functioning. 
Check before you start. You can get easily derailed if your pen isn't working or your computer isn't charged. 

Make you space ergonomic. 
Don't slouch, keep your feet on the floor, position your screen at eye level, and type with your wrists in a neutral position. 

Keep your space as clean (or messy) as you like.
Depending on your personality, you might work better with clean or messy spaces. Experiment with both a messy and clean space to see which works best for you. 

Take breaks every 30-60 minutes. 
Regular breaks help boost your productivity and focus (and are good for your health). 

View your study space as a "Work in Progress". 
Try one or two things out at a time to see if you like them, and add in from there. 

Make the best of the space you have.
It can be tricky to get everything perfect, and that's okay. Don't let this discourage you, and view it as a way to get creative. 

4 Steps to Create a Study Space in Your Room

If you want to study at home or in your room, here are some tips to help create your own study space. 

Remove Distractions from Your Study Space

Here is a list of things you should probably avoid putting in your study space:

  • Video and Computer Games
  • Your Phone
  • Lots of Open Tabs on Your Computer
    • Use a study app to help avoid this
  • Messy Food / Drinks / Junk Food
  • Other People
    • Unless you are working on a group project 

The goal of a study space is to maximize the attention you can devote to studying while minimizing the amount of effort necessary to do so. You can’t do that if the space is full of distractions.

Have Easy Access to Everything You Need Before You Start

Essential Study Space Items:

  • Comfortable Chair
  • External Mouse
  • Your Computer or Tablet
  • Textbooks
  • Notebooks
  • Index Cards
  • Paper to Write Down Distracting Thoughts
    • When you come up with a "great idea" jot it down and come back to it after finishing your study session
  • Writing Utensils 
    • Pens, Pencils, Highlighters, etc. 
  • Good Lighting 

Optional Items: 

  • Whiteboard and Dry Erase Markers
  • Tactile Thinking Aids
    • Rubix Cube, Putty/Clay, Pen to Click 
    • These give your hands something to do when working through difficult problems
  • Tea, Coffee, or Water
  • Healthy Snacks (that don't make a mess)
    • Nuts, Bananas, Granola Bars, etc. 
  • Inspiring Decorations
    • Low Maintenance Plant or a Poster with Quotes
  • Study Music or Ambient Noise
  • Kitchen Time
    • This is helpful for timed tasks and breaks
  • Headphones

Pay Attention to Lighting 

Try to study near a window so you have some natural light coming in. Studies have shown that you are more creative when working under warm light, but focus better under cool lights. 

Adjust Your Study Space to the Ideal Temperature (if possible)

An environment that is too hot or too cold is hard to concentrate in. If you don't have control of the temperature, do what you can to bring the temperature between 72° and 77° F. If you can't control the temperature, you might want to consider moving locations for the day. 



Patterson, R. (2020, Aug. 9). "How to Create a Great Study Space (with examples)".
Retrieved from

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