Where do you do your best work? Are you a traditionalist who prefers the school library? Have you joined the millions who can be found at the local coffee shop pounding away at their laptops? Whether you are working on a college writing assignment, planning a brilliant StartUp, or writing your latest blog post, you need a workspace that is conducive to working.
Even if you prefer to study elsewhere, there are simply times when you will have to work at home. It makes sense to do what it takes to create a great working space for your college studies. Check out these tips for making your home the perfect work environment.
Identify a Primary Work Area
Before you do anything, pick where you will do the majority of your thesis writing, homework, research, and other assignments. Many students choose their bedrooms, but a quiet den, unused utility room, or corner of a quiet area of your home will work as well. This doesn’t need to be the only place you work, but it will be the place where you invest the most time and money.
Identify a Secondary Work Area
When you’ve been studying or working for long periods of time, you may start getting tired and distracted. Sometimes, it’s nice to be able to change locations. Even if you are going to another room, the change of scenery can be a bit of an energy boost. You won’t do much to customize this space. Just think of an alternate workspace.
Let There be Light: Preferably the Natural Kind
You’re in class working hard at writing a thesis paper or listening to an intense lecture. The problem is that you’re practically nodding off. Before you blame the TA delivering the lecture, you might want to take a look up at that crappy, flickering, fluorescent tube over your head. That bad lighting could be the culprit.
You can’t control the lighting at your school, but you can at home. First, try to work near a window where you get natural light. Then, choose light bulbs that mimic natural light as much as possible. You can try some candle sconces if you like, but they may not provide much more than accent lighting.
Ergonomics Are Important
The science of ergonomics is subject to a bit of unfair mocking. The image of some pretentious dolt or nerd standing or kneeling on some awkward contraption is the stuff of sitcoms. Here’s the problem. Continuing to work in spaces that are not ergonomically correct can actually cause serious damage. OSHA has released a checklist for computer workstations.
Don’t worry. You won’t need to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars in special furniture. You can make simple changes and make a big difference. For example, adjusting your chair can have more of an impact than you know. So can elevating your laptop to put the screen at eye level, and using a wireless keyboard to keep your hands in the perfect position.
Personalize Your Space
Mood and morale are important. Add some personalized items to your work area, and you will find it much easier to spend time there. Put your favorite book on the corner of your desk. Hang a couple of posters that you like.
Make it Comfortable
Don’t confuse this with ergonomics. We’re talking about simple comfort. Throw some extra cushions into your workspace. These things may not be appropriate when you are working on your most intense assignments, but they can help you create a workspace that balances the need to create a serious workspace with the need to be comfortable while reading and studying. We believe that students may need less writing help if they are generally more comfortable.
Get Rid of the Distractions
Some people work well with a bit of background noise like a television or music playing in the background. Others need almost complete silence. Then, there are visual distractions. Know your own habits and needs and make sure that anything that might keep you off track is out of both eye and earshot. You may find that it is helpful to hide icons from games and other distractions on your computer
Keep a Schedule and Let People Know
Whenever possible try to stick to a regular schedule of working and studying. By doing this, it’s much easier to turn studying into a habit. Next, let other people know. If they are aware of your study schedule, they will know when to give you a bit of peace and quiet.
Every student should have a space at home that is conducive to work. This means creating a physical space that is adequate for studying and working quietly. Follow the tips above, and you should have the perfect environment for working at home.