1. Choose a space solely dedicated to studying.
Create a study signal for your brain by choosing to work in a space only used for that purpose. Environment is a powerful trigger for behaviors, so choosing an office room, library, or quiet café that you only use for studying is a good way to set yourself up for success. If your room is your only option, section an area specifically for studying. You can do this by creating a divider in your room facing your desk toward a window or in a corner with distractions out of sight. Avoid doing homework on your bed, where you’re likely to inadvertently start snoring on your books.
2. Decrease barriers to concentration.
Games, electronics, and other tools we use for socializing and entertainment should be out of sight in your study sanctuary. If you’re studying in your room, this might take some rearranging or placing distracting things in a storage bin while working (including the beloved cell phone). If you’re using a computer to work, close all websites and programs unrelated to your work until your study session is complete. If you’re not using the Internet for this task, disconnecting your computer from the Internet is a good step to decrease temptations to “look something up really quick” or check social media, which often derails productivity.
3. Try for comfortable accommodations, but not too comfortable.
You want to be comfortable in your study sanctuary, but not so comfortable that you feel sleepy—think moderate temperature, natural lighting, and comfortable clothing and computer chair. If you it is more comfortable to stand while working or you would like to change it up, affordable cardboard standing desks are available online (Like this one). If you are going to another location, such as the library, be prepared with things that will ensure you can stay the full time necessary—a sweatshirt, water, and a healthy snack.
4. Keep it clean & stocked appropriately.
You don’t want to have to begin your study session by the added chore of cleaning, so make sure you keep your study sanctuary free from clutter. Always have your computer charger with you if using a computer and helpful writing tools. No one likes the wasted 15 minutes of digging through a drawer of dried up highlighters and pens to find something that works. It’s also a good idea to have a separate notebook or sticky note pad to jot things down that come to mind during your study session. This can give peace of mind that you have the task to come back to later, preventing you from worry or getting up to do unrelated tasks that you want to remember later.
5. Fill your study space with positive vibes.
Confidence and motivation foster productivity. While it is good to limit a study sanctuary from clutter and distractions, it is also helpful to have a reminder of what makes you feel confident in your study abilities and motivated to make an effort. This could be a test or project that you worked hard on, a framed motivational quote that speaks to you, or even a sticky note mantra like, “I can do hard things,” “I control my attitude and my effort, ” “The most effective way to do it is to do it, ” or something else personal to you that gives encouragement and drive work toward your goals.