Many adults are now opting to continue their studies on their own time, in order to enhance their career prospects or just to learn something new. Online study is a popular option for working mothers as it is very flexible and can be fitted around the demands of family and work. However, it can also be difficult, as you have to find the dedication yourself to study at home, which can be hard if you have a lot of demands on your time. A dedicated space to study in can help you to better focus.
If you’re going to get into a studious mood, you need to clear your workspace of things that will put you off. Your study space can help with distractions while studying. Turn your phone off or switch it to silent and put it somewhere where you can’t see it. If your phone is on your desk, it’s tempting to stop working in order to quickly check what that alert was. Next thing you know, you’ve lost half an hour on reading Twitter and texting back your friend trying to arrange brunch.
If you’re studying online, don’t let being online distract you. Try not to have lots of tabs open on your browser while you’re studying. Try a productivity program that can be used to block access to social media and other distracting sites while you’re working. Tabs you need for research are fine, but avoid falling into the trap of feeling like you’re being productive just because you have work open in one tab when you’re actually being distracted by checking Facebook notifications or scrolling Amazon in another tab.
Snacks can help with studies as they keep your blood sugar even, but avoid messy foods. If you have to stop working to eat your snack, and you end up covering your desk in sugar or crumbs, then you’re going to be distracted. A proper study break is better if you’re going to eat. If you have to eat at your desk, choose something healthy, tidy to eat, and that you can eat with one hand.
Work in a quiet space. If you’re studying at home, go into a room where you can shut the door on the rest of the house. Make sure any other people you live with, especially your children, understand that the door being closed means you’re studying and should be left alone unless it’s an emergency.
Essential Study Items
Have everything you need for your studies within reach of your space before you start working, so you don’t waste time looking for that one textbook you need and left in your bag.
Start with a comfortable, ergonomic chair and desk. You want the chair to be comfortable to sit in for long periods and to provide proper support for your back. A standing desk can boost your productivity. An adjustable desk that can be moved between sitting and standing positions could work for you if you aren’t sure you want a standing desk all the time. If you do find that you like using a standing desk, make sure you have something soft to stand on to support your back, like a rug or a yoga mat.
Some small shelves near your desk are a good idea to keep any textbooks that you’ll need to hand. If you like to write notes, make sure you have notebooks, index cards, sticky notes or a pad of paper, as well as pens, pencils or highlighters. Keep any subject-specific items you might need on the desk as well, such as a calculator.
Your workspace needs to be well lit, but not too bright. If you’re looking at a computer screen in poor light for ages, your eyes are going to get tired much faster and you can cause strain to your eyes. Natural light is best for focus, so position your desk near a window if you can (unless you know you’ll waste time staring out of it). A good desk lamp is a good alternative.
If you find that you are often distracted by noise, then some good-quality noise-canceling headphones can be helpful. Some people find ambient noise or music helps them to study. If you like quiet, use the headphones to block out noise from the rest of the house. Wearing your headphones is also a good visual clue to your children that it is work time and you shouldn’t be disturbed. This is especially helpful if you can’t shut the door on your study space.