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The Study Spot

Creating a Place to Get Your Work Done

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College student eating take-out food near ...
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If you’re like most distance learners, you love the freedom of learning at home. You revel in the joy of taking an online math test in your pajamas and appreciate the fact that a snack from the kitchen is only a few steps away. But home distractions can become a problem, particularly if you haven’t organized a special place to get your work done. If you feel overwhelmed by the constant distraction of phone calls, family or roommate interruptions, and disorganization, you need to create an environment where you can really get to work.

What is a Study Spot?

A Study Spot is a special place you put together just for completing the work you need to get done. Instead of working on the bed, near the television, or just about anywhere in the chaos of home life, you can create a place that is best suited to actually doing your work and doing it well. Most people set a few ground rules for their Study Spots to ensure that they won’t be faced with the normal distractions while their busy. When done correctly, creating a Study Spot can help save you time by letting you focus on your work and finish sooner.

Organization is Essential

The first step to Study Spot success is organizing the place that will be home to your studies. Walk around your home at its busiest hour (if you have family or roommates living with you, this will probably be when everyone gets back from school or work). Find the place that is the quietest in all the commotion. It may be in the corner of your bedroom or perhaps you have a den or a small room that isn’t being used. Some people use a section of their garage. Whatever place you choose, make sure it is large enough that you won’t feel cramped and check to see that the temperature can always be kept at a comfortable level. As soon as you find your place, begin organizing the materials you will need and setting up your Study Spot. Completing the following steps will leave you with a well-organized, work-ready area you can call your own:
    1. Purchase a traditional desk. One of the benefits of using an actual desk is that your work-related materials are always going to be near. Most desks have multiple drawers for supplies and room to hold a computer without getting in the way of your writing area.

    2. Get a good chair. This is one of the most important tools of getting your work done at home. Go to an office supply store and invest in a chair that you actually want to sit in. Hard wood or metal chairs are uncomfortable and often deter people from sitting down for the time necessary to get their work done.

    3. Organize your supplies. Make sure that all the supplies you need each day are easily reachable from your desk. It’s easy to become distracted from your work if you constantly have to leave your studies to go look for supplies in another area of the house. Put books, pens, pencils, erasers, and everything else you need in the drawers of your desk. If you study online, make sure that you have all necessary software and passwords available. If you study through mail, make sure you have the needed stamps and addresses at your desk.

    4. Add your special touch. Personalize your Study Spot and make it your own. If you like to study with background music, bring in you c.d. player and a bunch of your favorite c.d.s. If you like to munch while you work, put a box of your favorite snacks by your workspace. If you’re an art fan, put your favorite paintings on the wall. Some people like to hang up inspirational posters or magazine clippings of people who are in the profession they are working on becoming a part of. Add anything that will help make your Study Spot feel like home and keep you focused on the prize.

Study Spot Rules

Once you’ve created the perfect Study Spot, set a few ground rules for yourself and anyone else you live with. Rules can help keep distractions away and keep you focused. Start with just a few that will be easy to follow and add more as you become more disciplined in your work. Some examples of rules that people have found useful are:
    • Work time is between the hours of 7 and 11 a.m. I won’t plan anything else during that time.

    • The ringer on the phone is always turned off while I’m working.

    • When I put a sign on the door, family members and friends should know that I’m working and not disturb me.

    • I will take one big break in the middle of my work, but will stop taking lots of small breaks throughout the morning.
Study Spot rules are very personal and are meant to help you work in the way that’s best for you. When you decide on the rules that will help you study, talk to the people you live with and explain what you need them to do to help out.

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