To best connect your mind to learning, it’s important to create a dedicated study space. Drifting between your bed, the dining table, and the local coffee shop to study will not usually bring about the best results. Choose one special spot and create your ideal study zone – over time your brain will get the message, and you’ll find it easier and easier to slot quickly into study mode.
Short on space? Don’t panic! A dedicated study zone doesn’t have to be large or fancy to get the job done. It just has to be quiet, well-organised, and conducive to study. That could be anything from a cubical or large closet, to an attic space or just a corner of your bedroom. So you’ve picked your study space? Great! Now here are a few tips to help you get the most out of it.
We all know it’s hard to concentrate if you’re not comfortable. If your chair wobbles, your desk isn’t big enough for all your stuff, you’re just not going to be doing your best work. Making sure your study space is comfortable (but not so comfortable that you fall asleep!) is the first step to great results.
Invest in a decent chair and desk
You need a desk that’s big enough for your computer, your study books and all your other study paraphernalia. Experts say that desktop height should be somewhere between your ribcage and your waist when you are seated, and you should be able to rest your elbows on your desk without having to hunch your shoulders. Your chair is just as important – a bad chair can lead to bad posture, which can lead to headaches. Go for an ergonomic office chair if you want all the adjustments, or consider a knee chair, a saddle seat or even a swiss ball.
Trademe is an excellent site for both new and second-hand office furniture, and a great place to bag yourself a bargain.
Office Furniture Warehouse has some great affordable desk and chair packages that start from $219.
Otherwise check out the likes of Kmart, Warehouse Stationery, Freedom Furniture and Zoomly (one of the NZ stockists of IKEA) for affordable options.
The industrial trestle desk from Kmart is stylish, has a bit of storage and costs just $65.
While Warehouse Stationery has height adjustable desks for $449
Warehouse Stationery also has adjustable, colourful office chairs from $69.
When it comes to studying, you’ve got to get the light right. Not enough and you’ll find yourself nodding off (or worse, damaging your eyes). Meanwhile if the lighting is too harsh (think old-school fluorescent lights) you could find yourself getting headaches.
The first tip for good lighting is make the most of whatever natural light is available to you. If your study space is light and bright, rather than dark and dingy, you’ll feel much happier about spending time in it. Natural light can really make or break a study space, so if you can set your desk up near a window, you’ve hit the jackpot.
If you can't nab a spot near a window, you'll need some lamp light. Experts suggest using a 40-60 watt lightbulb for reading and writing, and a 60 watt lightbulb for computer work. Positioning is also important as you don’t want lights shining directly into your eyes. A desk lamp to focus light on your workspace and an overhead room light to brighten the entire area make the ideal combination.
The matte black desk lamp from Lighting Direct is currently on sale for $69.90
Or check out the industrial style lights at Typofor $39.99
For even more affordable options go to Kmart where you can find a simple but functional desk light for just $6!
A cluttered study space creates a cluttered mind – and a cluttered mind will do nothing to enhance your learning. The first thing you need to do is tidy and organise your space, and then you need to do everything in your power to keep it that way
Start by tackling those coffee stains and dusty corners with a bottle of spray ‘n wipe and a cloth. Then treat yourself to some good desk organisers. If you already have drawers in your desk, make the most of them to organise your materials neatly.
Bed, Bath & Beyond sells flatware trays from $10.99, and they are perfect for storing pens, paper clips, highlighters and more.
Storage Box, Kmart and The Warehouse all have a wide range of affordable office storage options – from pen holders and paper trays, to entire shelving units and cabinets.
Check out thisfive-drawer trolley from The Warehouse for $39.
Typo always has a fun selection of office accessoriesincluding gold metal storage desk trays for $29.99, copper bulldog clips ($7.99 for six) and wall and desk planners starting from $9.50.
Keep track of your deadlines with one of these bulletin boards from Bunnings for $24.
And be sure to keep a supply of coloured sticky notes on hand – just $4.49 from Warehouse Stationery.
Now here’s the fun part. There are tons of different things you can do to transform your office from functional to fantastic. Here are a few ideas – but you are only limited by your imagination.
Add a dash of colour According to colour experts, fresh sage and moss green aid concentration, and bold reds and oranges boost attention to detail. Bring colour into your study space with cushions, art, or even a feature wall.
Popmotive.com has some cool prints like this Think Big artwork for $89.
Or how about thisiconic Banksy imagee for $45?
Motivate and inspire Adorn your study space with photos, inspirational quotes or anything else that will help keep you on track and productive. Decorate to motivate! Treat yourself to a cool wall clock that will not just look great but will also keep you moving forward. Sometimes a little bit of time pressure is all we need to maximise our study sessions.
Thisrose gold clock from Kmart is just $14.
Or head to Briscoes for this more masculine wooden wall clock for $39.99.
Go green It’s a known fact that plants improve air quality – and with better air quality comes better brain power. Bring your study space to life with some indoor pot plants. There’s a huge range on offer at Bunnings.co.nz or pay a visit to your local garden centre.