The 5 things every adult learner should have in their study room are: a clean desk, no distractions, enough light, the right tools at hand, and it should be easy to get started.
When you have all of these essentials in your study room, you are ready to get started!
(In this article I am not talking about the room you study, whether you have a good chair, or the height of your desk. That is something for a different article)
Let’s have a look at the 5 study room essentials, but with a little twist…
A Clean Desk (kind of…)
You can put as much as you like on your desk. Books for studying, food as snacks, or even pictures of your family. But make sure that at the beginning of your study session, you have a clean desk.
When studying, you can put all the stuff on your desk that you want. Whatever makes you feel comfortable and helps you to study is what you should do.
The reason you start with a clean desk is simple. You need some space to add your study book and perhaps paper or a computer on it.
When you are done studying, clean up again. Even if you want to continue at the same page tomorrow… clean up and actually end your session by closing your book and cleaning up.
Remove The Stupid Distractions (keep the smart ones)
Anything that doesn’t help you achieve your study goal is a distraction. Hopefully you have a separate study room at home. Or perhaps you study in your car after work. Or you may even use the family room early in the morning or late at night when you can be there alone.
I noticed that most of the time (social) messages, the internet, and people are the biggest distraction for people. The small items on your desk are often just there to give you something to touch when studying (pen, a ball, and other small things). Even food on your desk doesn’t really matter.
Remove messaging, people around you, and needless internet browsing. Keep a few small distractions on your desk (things you actually want there). This give you control over your distractions. The simple act of doing this will make you more focused.
Light… Books… Study!
Many people talk about having enough light in their study room. Personally, I don’t really care too much about light around me when I study at my computer. Studying from my screen in a darker room makes me more focused I think. I am not that distracted by the environment…
I think we can learn a lot from watching YouTube video makers who talk about setting up light for shooting video. You and your book are the central objects in your study session. Put enough light on yourself and your book.
A good way of doing this is by studying in natural light. You can sit near a window for example. When that is not really possible, you can buy natural light LEDs. I use these for recording video and for studying. When they are on, the light in the room looks like it is a sunny day outside. And since the light is natural, you can study for a long time.
The 3 Tools That Help You Study More Focused
The 3 things I believe should be on your desk are a timer, a book stand, and note-taking supplies. When you have all of these, you can study without getting up.
The timer is something you need so you don’t have to think about how long you should be studying. That is the job of your timer. Literally set it, and forget it.
You can use the timer on your phone. Use the build-in timer, or download an app. If you want to go really fancy, get a Pomodoro timer for more productive studying.
I often use the timer to give me a minimum study time. When the alarm rings, I probably study a little longer to finish up what I was doing. I man even renew the study timer and study one more round without a break.
The second thing you need is a book stand. You can use an actual book stand, or put your book leaning against the wall or something else. The reason you need this is to hold your book so you can read with a better posture.
By sitting straight up, you will be able to focus better and have a good supply of oxygen to your brain.
Oh… and don’t just think book. You can also use it for your iPad or tablet. This way you can read easily and take notes.
The third tool to have on your desk is a notepad and enough pens and markers. This way you can take notes, mind map, outline something or simply draw anything you like… without getting up.
Even when you take notes on your computer, I advise you to use paper as well. Writing is something very powerful when studying. You can write your notes on your computer by typing really fast. The act of using hand-written notes is wired differently in your brain.
By just doodling, you connect what you read to your thoughts in a different way. Use some markers to highlight information, and you create long lasting connections in your brain!
Prepare first, Then Start Easily
By doing all of the previous things mentioned, you are setting yourself up for study success. The moment you sit down to study, you should only do that… study! By having everything near you and ready to support you, you can study with more focus.
When during your next study session, you think there is something missing, take a quick note of that. After your study session, you can check if this is something you really need during your upcoming study sessions. If so, make sure you add it to your setup.
The most important thing is that when you study… you study. There is limited time to study, so make it count… every minute. No, you should even make every second count.
By having the right study room essentials in place, you are setting yourself up for success!
Oh… here is one more thing you should take care of…
BONUS: Drink enough water
You have to make sure you get a bottle of water on your desk as well. When you are studying, you need to stay hydrated. That is why you need this water bottle.
When you are studying for 1 or 2 sessions, you can use the timer to tell you that you have to drink something. When the timer goes of, you take a few sips.
Your brain loves to stay hydrated. Give it what it wants and you can study better.
When you are studying a long time, you may have to take into account that after about 2 hours bathroom breaks are in order :).
Don’t like to drink cold water? You can also use tea or warm water.
Conclusions on Study Room Essentials
To create a room built for study success, you have to take care of these study room essentials. Make sure you remove distractions, start and finish with a clean desk, have enough light, use the right tools, and make it easy to start. Besides all this have a bottle of water present to stay hydrated.
When you do all of this, you can improve the results of your study sessions dramatically.
The moment you feel you have all of this in place, and you like to start developing your own personal study skills, check out the online course “Studying Made Easy“. It will help you to become a better and more efficient adult learner.