How to set up the perfect environment for studying

Despite your best intentions, there are times when you’ll find yourself attempting to study but can’t seem to focus on the material or absorb it effectively. What causes this, and how can you make sure that doesn’t happen? The answer lies in optimizing your environment for study so that you feel relaxed and comfortable while studying. Here are some tips on how to set up the perfect environment for studying.

How to set up the perfect environment for studying

1) Light

The ideal study environment is well-lit but not too bright. Be careful that you aren’t staring into a light bulb all day—your eyes will get irritated and might even hurt. On top of that, some research has found that exposure to high amounts of blue light at night can interfere with your body’s natural ability to regulate melatonin production, making it harder for you to fall asleep at night.

When it comes to lighting, choose soft white bulbs over harsh fluorescent ones—they are easier on your eyes and maybe more conducive to being productive during daylight hours. Just don’t sit in complete darkness, or you might have trouble concentrating on what you need to get done.

2) Temperature

Research has shown that a cool room with a temperature between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit is best when it comes to studying. Conversely, you shouldn’t study in a room warmer than 74 degrees.

Even though you might think a warm room would be conducive to staying alert, actually being in a warm environment can lead to decreased alertness and motivation—even after just 20 minutes. In order for your mind to be stimulated, your body must also be stimulated.

3) Focus

Sit down and clear your head before you open a book. Some people find it helpful to have a cup of coffee, tea or some other beverage available so they can sip from it when their mind starts wandering during study time. Make sure your computer is turned off—set an alarm if necessary—and don’t bring distractions like cell phones into the room.

It’s also a good idea to remove things that can take away from your focus while you study, such as televisions and computers. If you must listen to music, try listening via headphones rather than speakers—the quiet sound won’t be as disruptive while you read.

4) Time Frame

Short-term goals have a time frame of around 30 days. Long-term goals can last a few months or a year. Intermediate goals are between these two and long-term goals, lasting a few weeks or a couple of months at most. To get you started, figure your short goals and long-term goals for studying. That way, you can plan study sessions that incorporate them together.

Most successful students take notes when they study in order to keep their thinking process organized. Also, writing down helps them memorize material more efficiently. So if you’re just starting out in studying how to reach that A+ grade level, start practicing today by making your own effective study schedule!

5) Decor

Look around your dorm or bedroom. It’s probably a little cluttered, with all of your stuff and maybe some random things from when you lived at home. You probably have posters on your wall and a computer with a bunch of apps on it—maybe even a gaming console in your room.

Your dorm might look great, but research suggests that it’s not exactly ideal for concentrating when you have an exam or paper due. And it turns out that when we feel too comfortable in our environment, we don’t really concentrate as well either—we just become more relaxed and less focused.

6) Ergonomic chair and desk

Students often invest in books, note cards, and highlighters when it comes time to study, but few students think about investing in an ergonomic chair. Don’t skimp on your health when trying to boost your GPA. Purchase a comfortable ergonomic chair with adjustable armrests so you can keep yourself in a proper study position while reading or writing notes.

Consider buying an adjustable-height desk so you can find a comfortable working position that won’t put undue stress on your neck and shoulders. If your budget allows, try out several different chairs before purchasing one—this will help you narrow down which features are most important for you.

7) Hydrate

Caffeine and alcohol can make you feel like you’re boosting your brainpower, but they may have a negative effect on memory later. Instead of reaching for a cup of coffee or an energy drink when you need a boost, reach for water. Being dehydrated can lead to fatigue and weakness, which can get in the way of your ability to learn and retain information.

In addition, staying hydrated will keep you focused because it has been shown that being even mildly dehydrated interferes with concentration and attention span.

Wrapping up

Too many people fall prey to distractions when they try to study. They either pick a place that isn’t conducive to productivity, or they lack focus and direction. To set yourself up for success, start by establishing your why.

Why are you trying to improve your study habits? Does it stem from procrastination? A low grade in class? There are two parts of your why: (1) What problem are you trying to solve? (2) How will changing your study habits affect your overall quality of life? Just make sure you actually write them down and follow through.

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