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Student Essentials: Make a Workspace that Works for You
Studying is the reason you go to uni – no surprises there. But hands up, who’s guilty of procrastinating instead of getting stuck it to reading and writing? Thought so. We can’t help you crack on with your essays, but we can share a few pointers to make your workspace more pleasant and productive.
Prepare your space
The basics of getting your desk set up aren’t the most exciting, but they’re the foundation you need to do things right.
- Minimise distractions by keeping your desk as clear as possible.
- Make sure your desk is positioned under a decent light source, not a dank corner.
- Set your computer or laptop at the right height to avoid back pain from slumped posture. Sit up straight at your desk, and the top of the screen should be in line with your eyes.
- Get a comfortable chair. If you’re going to be spending hours at your desk, you want to be properly supported!
- Keep chargers to hand to avoid any 4% battery panic. Have a designated drawer or box for chargers and connecting cables so you always know where they are.
- Invest in a desk lamp for late-night study sessions. No-one wants eye-strain!
If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. At least that’s what our teachers told us. Getting organised is easy to do at the beginning of the year before your assignments start rolling in, then it’s just a case of maintaining order (or holding back the chaos) through the academic year.
- Your desk probably won’t have room for everything, so you need to squeeze in as much storage as you can elsewhere. Shelves, bookcases, and drawers will all help to keep notebooks, text books, and loose paper where they need to be.
- Introduce a filing system, and divide handouts and other course material by module. Magazine holders and storage tray towers are good for this.
- Hang a pin board, memo board or dry-erase board on the wall near your desk.
- Ditto to hanging a calendar nearby – make sure you note all of your deadlines clearly, not to scare you, but to motivate you into action.
- Stock up on stationery: pens, pencils, highlighters, flash cards, sticky notes… anything that might help you. If you don’t want to mark the pages of your books with ink or pencil, sticky-backed page markers are perfect.
- …but don’t pile up the bits and pieces on your desk or they might distract you. Use desk storage to contain pens, paperclips etc., or use dividers to store them in a desk drawer. If you don’t like the standard desk storage, get creative with fun mugs and bowls.
You are your most important study aid, so take care of yourself! Working hard is important, but so is looking after your health.
- Stay hydrated. Keep a glass or bottle of water by your side at all times, then there’s no excuse.
- Take screen breaks. Give your eyes a rest from staring at screens and pages. Even something as simple as pottering around the kitchen to make a cup of tea and a sandwich will help you refocus.
- Get a plant. Having some living greenery is said to relieve stress, and they’re pretty nice to look at too. If you’re a flora novice or too forgetful to water regularly, try succulents for size. They’re about as low-maintenance as they come.
- Remember you’re not a machine. Everyone needs a psychological boost now and then, which is why it’s always a good idea to give your desk space some personality. Photos from home are a great comfort, as are fairy lights, motivational quotes, and pictures of your dream holiday destinations.