By Nate Desmond
As a college student, you will normally spend at least six hours a day studying. Surprisingly, this statistic holds true for great students just as it does for average students. The real difference doesn’t come in how much time is spent studying (although that definitely separates average students from poor students). No, the difference between average and extraordinary students is found in the optimization of their study hours.
Often overlooked when considering study techniques like speed reading or memory, your study environment greatly affects the effectiveness of your study time. By perfecting this part of your studies, you will likely reap almost instant results.
1. Keep It Simple
As with most of life, complexity is the enemy of success. Determine what you actually need to study and remove all distractions. While it may seem tempting to get a desk with lots of shelves, cabinets, and organizers, you will probably concentrate better with a simple, table-like desk. Although you might want to cover your walls in posters and artwork, a few tasteful pieces on an otherwise empty wall will give your mind more room to work.
A minimally furnished room gives your mind room to think and focus. Don’t fill it with decorations or furniture you will never need.
2. Make It Ergonomic
Minimalism is great, but comfort is also crucial. If you will be using this area for six hours a day, you need to invest the time to optimize your setup. Not only will this make you more comfortable – thus helping you concentrate, but it will also help you avoid potential health risks.
Optimize your desk height, monitor distance, and other factors for optimal productivity.
3. Dedicate The Space (Or Time)
If possible, dedicate your study space to just that. Don’t use the study area to relax, sleep, or do anything else that might distract you from studying. If you always use that space to focus on school, it will be easier to avoid the temptation to procrastinate.
If space constraints make it impossible to dedicate your area completely to study, set a rigid study schedule for yourself. For instance, use your desk between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM only for college work.
If you are tempted to visit Facebook or check your email during study sessions, use a computer program like RescueTime or MinutesPlease.com to monitor and limit your browsing time. By making a habit of clear study boundaries, you will improve the effectiveness of your study time.
4. Personalize Your Space
Just as maintaining a clean, minimalistic study area is crucial to study success, a certain amount of personalization can also help you concentrate. Simplicity is good, but you should also enjoy being there.
Depending on your interests, this might mean a few good books, a great desktop background, or even a mounted ram’s head (as Theodore Roosevelt displayed in his study). Find a few simple ways to make your study room yours.
How is your study area designed?