Whether you plan to study in your home, the library, a coffee shop, or even a park, you’ll want to make sure your space is set up to help you focus and therefore, succeed.
Personalize the Space
This doesn’t mean that you need to hang a sign with your initials or put up posters and pictures, but rather that you need to know what works best for you in terms of your personality and learning style. If you learn best in complete silence, you may need to consider noise-cancelling headphones or only choosing a space that is quiet like a library study carrel. If you learn best with some quiet music or ambient noise, you may want to be sure to bring some tunes or choose a space like a coffee shop that may have low level music playing. Study spaces aren’t one size fits all. You should ensure that wherever you choose to study it is aligned to your specific needs.
When you sit down to study, turn on the do not disturb setting on your phone. I know it feels very scary to disconnect but it will help you to make sure that you won’t be interrupted by text messages or phone calls or any little red alert bubbles that may pop-up. If you plan to use your computer to study, you should consider pausing your email inbox and closing all browser windows that don’t contain the content you need to study or work on.
Another method for minimizing distractions is to have a notepad nearby to write down any distracting thoughts that may interfere with your studying. You can make a note of the thought and come back to it once you are finished studying. It is a similar technique to clearing your mind while meditating, you simply note the thought and move on so that you don’t dwell on them.
Have Your Supplies at Hand
Not only will you want a notepad for writing down distracting thoughts, you’ll want to have all your supplies. It may seem too obvious to be a tip, but you will have more success studying if you aren’t interrupted by a need to get a pen or to plug in your device or hunt for a post-it-note. If you’re not studying at home or in your own space, make sure you bring what you may need with you. If you will be studying in your own space, you can ensure that you have set it up with everything you need close by. You’ll want to charge any devices that you may need as well.
Don’t Just Have Your Stuff, Organize It!
Simply collecting everything you need won’t be helpful enough. You will want to make sure you know where each item is so that you don’t spend time sifting through clutter. You don’t have to have an indexed filing system and multiple cabinets but knowing where your study materials, your note-taking devices, and your snacks are will go a long way toward letting you spend your time studying instead of searching.
Make Time for a Break or Two
It’s a good idea to decide ahead of time when you will take breaks from studying. You can even use a timer or alarm to help you not check the clock or be tempted to stop working too early. Part of knowing when to take a break or how many to take is knowing your own studying needs. Are you someone who is easily distracted during a break? Then fewer breaks may be the best way for you to work. Does taking frequent breaks help you to stay focused? Then maybe knowing you have several of them scheduled during your study time can help you.
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