Student Resources

A collection of tips and tools designed to help students succeed in all learning endeavors. 

Creating a Workspace

Aug 20, 2020
Creating a Workspace


How much more would you study if you had a good place to work? A functional study space is essential to using the most of your time and creating healthy and productive study habits.

If hanging out at the library isn't your thing, here's how to create a workspace that works for you.

1.  A dedicated place to study
Your workspace doesn’t have to be big, but it has to be controlled by you, and it has to be dedicated to studying. Any place where other people eat, sleep, party, or play video games is not going to work very well. (The exception is a shared dorm room.) Choose a corner of your bedroom, or an area in the basement, and use it only for studying.

2.  Remove Clutter
Clear the space of stray clothes, game controllers, makeup, and distracting posters. Your goal is to create a clean, calm space where you can get into the zone and stay there for a long stretch of time. Keep your desktop clear of anything that’s not used for homework, and clean up when you’re done, so the space is ready to use the next day.

3.  Turn off distractions
Put away your phone and get off the internet. It’s surprising how little we need them to study. Use distraction apps or a kitchen timer, and train yourself to concentrate. Close your door or wear earplugs. Keep your line of vision neutral, and consider hanging a calming image or inspirational quote to help you stay focused.

4.  Invest in a sturdy desk and chair
Your bed is not a desk. Researchers found that retention decreases when reclining on a couch compared to sitting in a chair. Invest in a sturdy desk and a good chair that you’ll want to use every day. Be sure the desk has enough leg room, and maybe add a foot rest. Your chair should be the right size and height for your body and offer good back support.

5.  Add good lighting
Natural light is great if you have it, but did you know that warm-toned light bulbs can enhance creative thinking, while cool-toned light aids concentration? And keep in mind that room temperature can also impact performance. Researchers found that students made 44% more errors in colder rooms than rooms set between 72-77 degrees F.

6.  Keep supplies handy
Having a desk area stocked with favorite pads and pens has been shown to extend study time and boost morale. Keep everything you need including books, tools, batteries, and power cords close at hand so you won’t have to break concentration. And remember that studying takes energy, so stay hydrated and nibble on no-mess healthy snacks.

7.  Stay in the zone with a study playlist
Getting into the study groove can be easier with a good playlist, but aim for tunes at 60-70 beats per minute (like Beethoven’s Fur Elise) which has been shown to help students study longer and retain more information. Worried about stray thoughts? Keep a notebook handy to jot them down. Then get back to concentrating, and revisit those good ideas later.

8.  Find what works for you
Some students study in different locations at home and on campus because they need different things at different times. Recharging your study space can keep things fresh and help you discover what you need. Change the angle of your desk, add a candle, or try different music. Experiment a bit, and make your workspace work for you.

Some ideas borrowed from Create a Study Space at