A Clear Workspace Is a Clear Mind
Studying from the comfort of your own home certainly has its perks, a big one being that you are in complete control of your learning environment. This means you can study however you’d like and wherever you’d like and adjust your surroundings to suit your needs. No rigid desks or hard chairs. However, this also means that you are responsible for managing your time properly, meeting deadlines, and staying organized. Sure, comfort is important, but how does one create the most effective study space? These quick tips will help you maintain an organized workspace in order to keep a clear head and excel in your studies.
Don’t Work Where You Sleep
As mentioned before, comfort is important when it comes to learning from home. You should set up an area that is inviting and relaxing enough to be in for prolonged periods of time. Find a comfortable chair, and perhaps add a cushion for your back. Just don’t get too relaxed. Studying in your bed is an absolute no-no. Any area that is already dedicated to sleeping, watching tv, or even eating is not an effective study space since you will naturally get distracted and revert to the original purpose of that area.
Instead, create your own home office (it’s okay if you don’t actually have an office room) and make that your study area. It could even just be a corner of your home you set up with a desk, a chair, and everything school related. This way, when you enter your workspace, you can mentally reinforce the fact that the area is for studying, homework, or testing, and nothing else. Having a dedicated area will allow you to remain focused and be more productive.
Create a Filing System
Online learning allows for more flexibility here since you can store important files digitally. Creating a folder on your desktop for each class and dropping all relevant work into it is a great way to stay organized and find documents or notes quickly when you need to reference them. The folders can be labeled by subject, color, or in any way you’d like, the important thing is that your filing system works for you. Remember to bookmark important pages in your browser in case you need to refer back to them later! You can also make use of the “bookmarks bar” for easy access to your most frequented pages; your homeschool dashboard for example.
Desk Organization Is Key
Desk organization is also helpful when it comes to working from home. Investing in a desk organizer will allow you to still have everything you need for the current day’s tasks handy while preventing it from overtaking your immediate space. Whatever you have in front of you should be what you’re working on right at that moment. Everything else can go in the organizer or in your backpack if you don’t need it right away. This way you won’t get unnecessarily overwhelmed. Backpack organizers are also a useful study tool since they keep the inside of your bag neat and clutter-free which makes sitting down to work as well as finding important papers much less stressful. This is especially beneficial if your bag doesn’t have many pockets!
Calendars Are Your Friend
Calendars (both virtual and physical) are assets! Take your overwhelming workload, list of project deadlines, and upcoming test dates, and copy it all down onto a calendar. It is a good idea to not only have a physical calendar hung somewhere that you will see it often (over the desk or on the fridge is common) but also a digital calendar as well. Google Calendar, for example, is free and you can liven it up with fun colors for each thing you need to remember.
You can even set reminders to be sent to your email, phone, or both! Having two calendars might seem excessive, but you’ll be happy for that double reminder on the long and stressful days where life gets crazy and time just gets away from you. There’s nothing worse for a homeschooler than turning in an assignment late or missing a quiz because the physical calendar got buried under some books or knocked onto the floor. Having a backup reminder will ensure you stay on top of your business!
Block Out Time to Study
Are you making time for studying? Even if you don’t have a test coming up, part of having the ideal study space and all of these study tools and tips is to utilize them on a daily basis! Create blocks of time in your schedule specifically for reviewing the current lesson in each subject so that when test time comes you won’t have to cram. The most effective study space is set up in such a way that studying, and learning seem inviting and you’ll want to do so every day. This is why it is especially important as mentioned above that your work area is separate from all other areas. In the ideal space, studying should be reflexive, not a chore.
Put Your Phone on Silent
Or better yet, turn it off completely! The temptation of social media or incoming texts from your peers are distractions and should be far from your line of sight during study time. It’s very easy to get caught up scrolling through your feed or in a conversation with your best friend, that is why it is best to shut your cell phone off. If you want it on in case of an emergency, just put it in a drawer where you are unable to see and get distracted by incoming notifications. Your space should house many important study tools, but a cell phone should not be one of them, not even for the digital calculator! It will only serve to distract you from your work.
What’s Your “Ideal?”
What does “ideal” mean for you? The answer will be different for every student. While you build and organize your study space, make sure to keep all of these tips in mind. With a dedicated work area, proper organization (in both the digital and physical space), detailed scheduling, time blocking, and eliminating unnecessary distractions like your cell phone or television, you will be well on your way to becoming a less distracted and more effective learner. An organized space does wonders for the brain, allowing your mind to be clutter-free. This means you will be more motivated and productive. Find out what your “ideal” is and bring it to life! Your brain will thank you. A clear workspace is a clear mind. Happy learning!