Making the best learning space for you

Maybe you’re at university or college, or perhaps you just need a room at home to get some work done. Whatever the reason, make sure your room is anti-procrastination! The only thing worse than not getting any work done because you’re too busy with other things is not getting any work done because you’re procrastinating and watching cat videos. 

According to research, UK businesses alone spend a whopping £76 billion every year because of procrastinating employees. Even if your learning space is being used for personal progression rather than for work for a business, you can see how costly procrastinating can be. Here’s how to get around the problem…

Give it a personal touch 

Giving your workspace a personal touch can help to inspire you as you work. A few photos of your family and friends are always a nice touch, or some favourite quotes to keep your mind sparking ideas. 

Beyond that though, putting a personal touch in your workspace can make it look simply more inviting! No one wants to work in a plain cubicle, and if you want to encourage yourself to spend more time in your learning space, you’ll want to make it inviting. What would you like to be surrounded by? Do you have a little keepsake there to remind you of a really good day? Maybe you like to keep a watch by your desk to keep track of time without having a big, space-taking clock on the wall. Or how about a quirky mug that doubles up as both a cute visual addition to your desk and being that all-important caffeine-provider?

The benefit of nature 

Just because you’re at your desk, doesn’t mean you can’t bring a little of the outdoors with you. Plants can help improve the air quality of your learning space, as well as provide a sense of well-being and help lower stress. They will silently cheer you on through your work! 

Ferns are a brilliant choice, with their tumbling leaves looking right at home on a shelf or hanging basket. Or, if you’re looking for a low-maintenance choice, a spider plant will sit happily on your windowsill and keep the air around you nice and fresh. Add a touch of colour along with your air-cleaning foliage by picking some lovely flowering plants too.

The importance of natural light

Again, no one wants to work in a plain old cubicle, and much less so under a constant artificial light. Have you ever found yourself feeling in a slump at the office when it’s dark outside during the winter and the only light is the flickering hum of a fluorescent strip-light above you? You’re not alone — a lack of natural light can cause your mood to falter, whereas natural light can boost your mood.

A lack of natural light can also make you feel sleepy and unfocused. So, when picking a room for your learning space, try to pick one with a window that gets a decent amount of sunlight through. 

Take the time to tidy it

A messy desk isn’t an ideal working environment. This links back to making your working space an inviting one — who wants to work in a nest of crumpled up paper, discarded pens, takeaway boxes, and long-forgotten half-finished cups of coffee? 

Time Management Ninja offers some great advice on how to keep your desk tidy, with key points being: 

 Keep a rubbish bin near your desk so you don’t have to leave your desk.
 Make sure everything on your desk has a purpose (motivation is a purpose, so don’t go binning those keepsakes!).
 Have a day set aside as designated cleaning time.
 When you’ve finished working for the day, tidy up.

Sound can distract or drive you

Some people are put off by any form of noise, so need to work in silence. Others can’t bear the thought of working without background noise. So long as it isn’t a distraction, pick whichever you work best in. 

If you prefer silence to work in, make sure your room is free of any ticking clocks and away from where others in your house might make a noise; having your learning space near the living room might be a bad choice, for example. 

If you like to have a little white noise to work, but not full-on music, take a look at some great white-noise websites or apps. A Soft Murmur is available as both a website and free app, and you can mix you own ambient soundtracks from a variety of sounds such as rain, fire, birds, and even a coffee shop chit-chat sound stream! Research in the Journal of Consumer Research backed the use of ambient noise for creativity, so it can’t hurt to try! 

If you like music to work to, classical music can be a great choice. Research has found that this music can increase memory performance. 

Everyone’s ideal workspace will look a little different. There’s no right or wrong answer, it’s all about picking what works for you. Good luck with building your optimum workspace! 

 

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