When you live with roommates or family, it can be difficult to have your own space.
Between ringing phones, people coming in and out, running kids, and barking dogs, it can seem like a miracle if you can concentrate for more than 10 minutes. But with problems come opportunities: there are plenty of clever ways to be productive when you are studying at home.
The Right Study Location
A study environment should be a place, where you can get your work done during your study time. It’s where you can concentrate, focus, and be productive.
A good study spot increases your ability to concentrate, which in turn increases your productivity and allows you to get more work done in less time.
Some libraries have silent or quiet reading rooms. You can find out if your public library has such a study room by asking at the circulation desk. It is advisable to ask even if you already know the library, because policies can change.
If your library has multiple floors, choose one that is not too busy. If there is not an entire floor where you can not talk or make noise, try to find a room or area that is relatively empty and not on a major thoroughfare.
If there are no floors or rooms designated as quiet, try to find a study table that is far away from other students who may be talking and making noise. If there is no such table, put on headphones and play music or sounds at a low volume that blocks out other noise.
Coffee shops have become a second home for many people in today’s world. Not only do they offer a great selection of good coffee, but they also allow you to bring your laptop or study materials and spend some time there.
In fact, many coffee shops have become libraries rather than cafes, where people spend most of their day sitting in the same place, drinking coffee and studying or working on their laptops.
They are designed to linger for a while and usually offer free Wi-Fi.
If you’re from abroad, you should join an international students network. There you may get good advice and even meet other college or higher education students who can recommend a cafe or the perfect place you haven’t thought of yet.
Some of these international students networks even offer skill-sharing, which can be of great benefit to you in advanced book search if you’re in higher education.
If your university or college allows it, the classroom is an obvious place. In an empty classroom, you can study in positive peace. However, you may not be able to find an empty classroom.
If you do find a classroom to study in and you plan to eat while steating there, make sure your school allows you to bring food and drinks into the classroom.
Take snacks that do not make noise when you eat them. While it’s tempting to buy those delicious, crunchy French fries with all your favorite flavors, they can be quite disruptive if the bag is crackling or the French fries are crunching loudly while someone else is talking.
Bring something that does not have too strong of a flavor. Certain foods can be very aromatic (garlic, onions, etc.), which can be problematic for people with odor sensitivities.
When the weather is good, you can go out into the fresh air while studying.
Parks are great places to find peace and quiet. Depending on the country, some have more peaceful environment options than others. Fresh air is good for relieving stress and staying awake at the same time.
For example, if you live in New Zealand, you can find a study place in any park in any city where you can make your study routine. However, if you live in a large city in the United States, such as San Francisco or London in the United Kingdom, it may be more difficult depending on where you live.
If you can find a place where there are no other people, you have the perfect place to study.
Depending on the park, the wifi option may not be available. However, if it is available and you do not have an internet connection at home, this is a great place to work.
You can bring your own food or buy something at a restaurant nearby. This makes learning even more pleasant and enjoyable.
This option can only be used during the day, as parks usually close after 7pm.
If you choose this study spot option, remember to keep your things nearby, as parks are open to everyone and are a good place for thieves, and obviously avoid parks that are known for violence.
Friend’s Study Environment
Friends you trust are like family, they understand your situation and know when you need them most. Just talk to a friend who lives alone or whose parents work elsewhere and tell them about your situation. If they know what it’s like to be a student, they’ll be happy to help you.
What You Should Avoid
A quiet place to study is a great thing! But that’s not the only factor that’s important for effective studying.
- Choose a place with good lighting.
- Make sure the place is clean and tidy.
- Avoid studying in bed!
First, you won’t be seated comfortably, and your brain will start to associate your bed with your study location and you will not be able to sleep at night.
- Do not attract thieves
If you study in public places like cafes or parks, watch your belongings. If you use an expensive computer, you may want to avoid parks.
- Make sure you have everything you need
Keep a checklist of things you need so you do not have to get up every few minutes to find pens, paper, study material, or your notes. If you are studying on the computer, make sure the battery is fully charged so you do not lose power during an important exam or assignment! If possible.
- Find a quiet place!
If you do not like it when a study room is too quiet, you don’t have to choose the quietest room. It can get boring when there are no other people around and it’s easy to tune out or fall asleep in complete silence. For example, some people prefer to study with soft music playing in the background so they do not feel lonely, but they also do not get distracted by conversations with other people.
- Choose the right music
When you listen to music, listen to the right kind. For example, there is music for concentration. Avoid music that makes you nostalgic or emotional, because you want to make sure you can concentrate.
Even in the best places, there can be distractions to your study session. Earplugs are often the easiest solution: they are cheap, comfortable, and easy to use.
There are disposable foam earplugs or more expensive reusable plugs. Just make sure they have a high noise reduction rating. The downside is that they can become uncomfortable if you wear them for long periods of time, and they tend to muffle all sounds, making it difficult to carry on conversations while wearing them.
- Noise canceling headphones
If you do not want to wear earbuds, consider noise-canceling headphones, which do an excellent job of blocking out low frequencies like traffic noise or nearby conversations.
They emit an anti-noise sound wave that neutralizes outside noises but do nothing about high-frequency sounds like banging on the table next to you.
The downside is that they tend to be expensive and can be bulky if you want to use them for an extended period of time.
- Try the Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s.
This technique uses a timer to divide work into intervals, usually 25 minutes long, separated by short breaks. It’s the perfect technique to set a study routine.
You can divide each study session into a specific study time however you like. Some people like their study time one hour in the morning and one in the afternoon, with an hour break for lunch. Others prefer to have one 25-minute study space in the morning and two more in the afternoon. It’s up to you how you want to divide the Pomodoro.
How to Find a Quiet Place at Home
Despite all the distractions, some people prefer to study at home. In this case, the most important thing is to find the right place in your home and make it a study area. If you have a room just for yourself, that’s perfect. If not, find a quiet place where no one can disturb you, get a study table and a comfortable chair and use this space only for studying. The environment is key to your productivity.
Avoid sleeping in bed or on the couch during the day. This affects the quality of your sleep at night because your body associates these places with sleep. Treat them as places where you rest only at night, so you can fall asleep there faster and sleep better.
This is especially important if you’re doing distance learning, as you may have plenty of meetings that require you to have your study space at home so that you don’t distract others when you’re speaking.
The Right Mindset for Learning
Time of Day
Some people are night owls, others are morning grouches. That’s why it’s important to figure out what time of day works best for you.
If you are an early riser, studying in the morning might be more productive than trying to force yourself to stay up late at night. If you are a night owl, studying late in the evening might be more effective than trying to read first thing in the morning.
To have a calm and peaceful mind, you need to keep your heart free from all negative emotions.
Try not to get into a conflict with anyone. If you are sad, angry or frustrated, your mind is not in the right condition to concentrate on your studies.
Are you feeling stressed out? If so, take a break before you start your homework so you do not feel overwhelmed by all that needs to be done. Or try listening to positive music when you start your assignment so it’s not so difficult from the start!
Find a Comfortable Temperature
Some people prefer warmer temperatures, while others prefer cooler ones. Find the temperature that is most comfortable for you and stick with it.
Regain Your Self-Confidence
An important component to your success is having the right attitude. You need to have confidence in yourself and believe that you can achieve anything. If you have doubts, they can become an obstacle.
You can overcome these obstacles by having a positive attitude and believing that you can succeed in your studies. Your attitude is what motivates you to take action even in difficult times.
When you’re learning, it’s important to tell yourself positive things! When you get a question wrong, don’t think, “I’m an idiot for getting this wrong,” but think, “This is the first time I’ve gotten this wrong; I just need to practice more.” That way, you won’t get frustrated and give up; instead, you’ll be motivated to keep trying because you know that after enough practice, you’ll eventually get it right!
Mindfulness and Meditation Can Help
The first thing you should do is clear your mind of all thoughts. This is easily done by closing your eyes and focusing your attention on something else, such as a tree or a picture.
You can also try visualizing yourself in a different place. Just don’t focus on the negative thoughts you may have, because they’ll take over your mind if you don’t get rid of them quickly enough.
Then, focus on your breathing. Breathe deeply and slowly as you think about what you’re going to do next. Think about where your body is at this moment and how it feels right now. Think of nothing but these things: just breathe deeply, slowly and steadily until all other thoughts disappear from your mind. Then try to forget that they ever existed! Forget everything except this one thing: YOU’RE BREATHING!