6 Tips for Creating a Successful Study Spot

Start your semester off right by crafting a killer study space.
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Vilune - Northwest Missouri State University
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Start your semester off right by crafting a killer study space.
Study spaces should be delicious, too.

Study spaces should be delicious, too.

With students everywhere heading back to class, it's time to get planning for a successful school year. One huge part of planning for academic success is setting up your perfect study space.

Don't wait until a failed test and two missed assignments to use these tips! Get your study habits in order now and you'll reap the benefits. These are effective study space tips and tricks that have helped me get the most out of my study sessions. 

1. Eliminate Distractions

I could write a novel about all of the potential distractions you need to get out of your space! 

First off, put away your phone! I'm serious. Hide it. Put it on silent. Leave it in another room. You may think that checking your phone every thirty minutes isn't all that terrible, but it adds up! Instagram, Twitter, and your friend Kristen will still be there after four hours of studying. 

Next, make sure you study alone. Don't even attempt to study with a group of friends. Trust me, I have tried: You're never as focused as when you study solo. Either work by yourself (I know! So hard for the social butterfly you are), put headphones in so you won't be tempted to chat with your roomie, or if you have to socialize, work with friends from the same classes only.

2. Get Good Lighting 

Desk lamp

Now it may seem tempting to just hop into bed, dim the lights, and read (where you can barely make out your textbook). But all that will do is just slow you doooooown. You want to be energized when you're studying. 

Of course, you don't want your desk lamp to be so bright that your eyes are watering, or so dim that you have to squint to make out the words. Medium-to-bright level is what we're shooting for. If your desk isn't bright enough, consider adding a second lamp.

3. Surround Yourself with Motivation and Inspiration 

Etsy poster

Printable poster via Etsy

This tip is the one that helps me the most. I don't know a single soul out there who actually enjoys studying for long hours each day. That's why it's important to have something to motivate or inspire you in your sight line. It will give you a kick when you think you can't possibly study any longer. 

To pep yourself up, why not make or buy a motivational poster? It doesn't have to be cheesy; it can be something that's personal to you. There are tons of cool posters, like this one from Etsy, that you can download, print yourself, and pop into an inexpensive frame. 

If you don't want to do all that, there are simpler ways to get that motivation. Find a quote that really hits home and tape it inside of your planner. Or carry around pictures of your family in your wallet. You could even plan out incentives for yourself. Tell yourself that after this many minutes of studying, or after this assignment is done, you can go get coffee or go bowling on Saturday. 

Maybe Shia Leabouf's motivational speech will do it for you (it never gets old)! 

Whatever it is, just find something to motivate you and keep it close at hand. 

4. Get Super Organized

photo-1447914178647-198e7e4a70b5.jpg

Planning and organizing ahead of time will make your study sessions so much less stressful. This section could be an article in itself (see this article for tons of organizing and planning tips), but I'll try to condense it!

First, GET A PLANNER. I know it can be a pain to always be writing things down, but a cute planner will motivate you so much more than a calendar app! At the beginning of each semester, I go through each class syllabus and write down due dates for tests and assignments. It takes 10 minutes and helps me a million times over.

Another thing you can do to get organized is to plan your day as best as you can the night, or week before. Making a schedule for your day gives you structure, and somewhat of a goal or incentive to get things done. I like to go with the flow, but scheduling my day (study hours, lunch breaks, and workouts), helps keep me on track.

We've written a lot about planners and schedules on CF, so check out this post, this post, this post, and this post for much more on the subject.

5. Have Some Yummy Snacks on Hand

Photo Credit: Elle 

Photo Credit: Elle 

Yum! Who doesn't love food? (Or taking breaks every fifteen minutes to meander down to the kitchen and scope out the food?)

Pack some healthy and nutritious snacks with you when you study to keep you feeling full and motivated! Keep in mind that what you put in your body is what you get out, so that cheeseburger won't help you as much as that fruit and yogurt parfait.

For snack ideas, see our posts on snacking your way to academic success, exam week snack recipes, and the best on-the-go snacks for college.

6. Invest in Comfortable Seating

Faux fur chair

Yes, they make sherpa office chairs. ($109 at Overstock.com)

Your bed and couches are a trap! Don't sit in them. Yes, you will be comfortable, but most of the time, studying in these places isn't productive. You get warm. You cuddle up. And boom. It's all over. A full season into One Tree Hill on Netflix and you wonder where your night went..

Instead, you need comfortable seating for your desk. This doesn't have to get crazy pricey - even adding a throw pillow or two to a standard-issue dorm chair can work wonders. There are lots of inexpensive desk chairs out there as well (I love this light gray one from Target) that will keep you comfortable and focused.

What do you think?

Do you have any study hacks to share? Have any of the above mentioned tips worked for you? What kinds of motivational quotes or posters do you keep around? Let us know in the comments below!