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A space for learning: how to feng shui your study space

a huge impact on productivity

Having the right place to work is just as important as having good study skills, and it has been proven that your study space can have a huge impact on productivity. Ranging from effects on wellbeing, to how successfully you’ll concentrate and retain information, proper organisation of your room is vital to a happy learning environment.

ancient Chinese concept of feng shui

Looking at the ancient Chinese concept of feng shui, it is suggested that the way that you arrange objects can have effects on your success, health and happiness. Even the physical arrangement of furniture and the layout of a room can affect your ability to study.

Here is a list of seven simple things that you can do to help transform your workspace into an effective learning environment.

Natural light

“Exposing teens to natural light can increase their alertness and improve academic outcomes.”

It has been scientifically proven that access to light can affect student cognitive performance, and can have benefits to our academic performance and mental state. Melina Uncapher, a leading American neurologist has proven that: “Exposing teens to natural light can increase their alertness and improve academic outcomes.”

Light, upon entering our eyes makes us feel more awake and alert due to parts of our eyes which connect directly to a part of our brain that secretes hormones influencing our levels of sleep (melatonin) or alertness (cortisol). It’s not surprising that it becomes more difficult to stay focused on your studies if you are working in a dingy, poorly-lit room.

have access to natural light

So try to make sure your curtains are fully open, with your desk placed close to, or even overlooking, a window. Alternatively, if you don’t have access to natural light, make sure that you have a good-quality desk lamp placed on the opposite side to your writing hand.

De-clutter

You won’t be feeling relaxed and ready to learn.

Working in a cramped environment at a cluttered desk that has pieces of crumpled paper, empty crisp packets and half-finished drinks strewn over it is not conducive to a good working environment. It creates an atmosphere that is claustrophobic and overwhelming, which won’t help you work efficiently or effectively. You won’t be feeling relaxed and ready to learn.

Tidy desk = Tidy mind

To combat this, have a tidy up of your study space before each revision session, and make sure that you keep it clean. Not only will this compartmentalise and break up your studies, it will also ensure that you feel and prepared and collected. Tidy desk = Tidy mind.

Personalise

good study environment that motivates you

Having a good study environment that motivates you is definitely an important first step to working effectively. It is fundamental to create a study space that best suits your needs, learning style, and personality.

Decorate

Decorate your space with items that motivate you. Whether you choose photos of family and friends, inspiring quotes or pictures, make sure that your work space will encourage to continue working hard. Learning ought to be something that you look forward to, and having an inspiring and welcoming study space will ensure that you feel at ease and relaxed.

Reorganise

books will also make you feel in control

Buying stationery such as flashcards, colour coordinated folders, highlighters and post-it notes can help you feel organised and prepared for the day’s studying session. Charts such as wall calendars, desk planners and list books will also make you feel in control of your study space. Colour code things and file your notes so that all of your work is all easily accessible and you don’t have to spend time unnecessarily looking for it.

Once you organize your study room, there are no distractions and you can be completely focused on your work. Soon you’ll realize that an organized study area will result in better grades.

Comfort

important

It is important that you feel comfortable and secure in your study space… not too comfortable though because you don’t want to drift off to sleep! Opening a window whilst you study is an effective way to make sure that you feel energised and refreshed and the fresh air will make you concentrate more.

Or, why not try rearranging the furniture in your bedroom. Creating a small change will help you look at your work from a fresh perspective, and will make sure that you don’t become bored with the environment too easily.

Nature

2009 study

A 2009 study showed that bringing a leafy plant into a learning space will have positive impacts on student wellbeing and mentality. Often, it is found that the student will feel grounded and more relaxed if they have a plant on their desk.

No distractions

music can help to study

Some people find that listening to music can help them study, and this may be the case for you… however, if you’re listening to very loud music or tuning into chatter on the radio, it is more likely that your brain will be easily distracted.

easy to become distracted

This is also the case for smartphones, computers and tv. With such a broad range of social media accounts, it is easy to become distracted. Just a quick scroll on Instagram, a few retweets on Twitter and a browse of Facebook can lead to you wasting several study hours a day.

remove all distractions

To stop this, remove all distractions from your study space. Make sure that your attention isn’t being diverted from your work or revision. Save the music, chatting, social media and tv for your down time once you’ve finished your work. Not only will you work more effectively and will be more productive, but you will enjoy your other activities more as well as feeling a real sense of achievement.

Isobel Richards