As adult learners and student moms/dads, you have a lot on your plate. Juggling your work, studying, and taking care of your family is not an easy task.
Adjusting to going back to school as an adult and the distractions that often accompany it presents one-of-a-kind challenges for many adult students/student moms and dads.
Every second you could spend studying is precious. Having a study space that will increase your productivity is crucial.
So how can you create a productive study space to ensure your study success despite all the chaos in your hectic life as adult learners/student moms and dads?
There are some simple tips you can take to increase your productivity while studying. These quick tips are aimed at helping you set up a comfortable study space and help you study effectively and efficiently.
Let’s dig in!!
1. Recognize Your Study Style
The first thing you need to do is ask yourself what is your study style. What do you prefer? Your study room should reflect how you study.
When your study room is located in the right place for your study style, furnished and decorated according to your taste, it will give you the right atmosphere where you can be very productive.
For example, I don’t like to spend a lot of time sitting down. When I study or work, I use the Pomodoro technique, where I need to sit still only for 25 minutes and have my 5 minutes break afterward.
Thus, I prefer to study someplace where I can access the bathroom or kitchen easily since I need to splash my face with fresh water during my study break (and perhaps nibble on something) to stay fresh and boost my energy level.
Analyze yourself and how you react and perform in a certain atmosphere in order to know your study style and what works perfectly well for you to boost your productivity.
2. Choose a Perfect Spot
How can you make your room conducive to study? You can start by choosing the right spot. But, as an adult learner, especially when you are also a student mom, or dad, choosing the right spot to study can be difficult.
When you have a child(ren), like it or not, the whole house will be full of their things; strollers, changing tables, cribs, tons of their toys, and so on.
You will be lucky if you can find a spot at all. Being able to choose is a luxury many of us –student moms and dads– couldn’t afford.
Having said that, try your best to pick up a space that belongs to you and only you. Take some time and effort to clean and decorate them to your liking and use it as your designated study space.
Make it your own. Set a specific mindset, that once you are in that designated space, you are ready to work and study. Leave everything behind. You can always come back and clean up the mess behind you after you finish studying.
3. Organize Your Study Space
One important thing you could do to make your study space productive is to organize them. Get yourself a corkboard to hang as a bulletin board, or better yet, a cork wall where you can cover one side of your wall in your study room.
Apart from being useful to pin your things on, it can also muffle sounds, and help to reduce the noise from other places in your house.
Your school supplies as such pens, pencils, erasers, paper clips et cetera, should not be scattered everywhere. They should all be placed neatly in a drawer or a desk organizer, where you can easily find them.
Designate some space in your desk, or set up shelves for your books, stacks of papers, and other study materials. As an international student who didn’t have my own space, I couldn’t make any holes in the wall of my rental apartment. Building bookshelves is not an option for me. As alternatives, I use boxes and crates to store my belongings.
You can be creative with them. Decorate them as you like, put them in a certain order that aesthetically pleased you; stack them up, make them serve a double purpose as a bench, or something like that, however you see fit.
4. Use Adequate Lightning
Ideally, your study space should have natural lightning bright enough to enable you to work without using any lamp during the day, but not in a direct line of bright light that could affect the room temperature or create blinding reflections on your screen.
If this is the case and you don’t have the option to relocate your study space, put a curtain or blinders to block some of the natural light. Or you could set up your study schedule where you spend most of your study time during the night, using lightning instead of natural light.
Pay attention to the lighting you use in your study space. A dark room can make you sleepy. It will force your eyes to work harder. Straining your eyes for a long time is definitely not good for you.
Be careful also with the opposite, severe light can also do damage to the eyes. Use a desk lamp where you can focus the light on your desk area.
When your study space is located in a corner of a room, using a desk lamp enables you to see clearly when studying, while having the other areas of the room dark or dimly lit.
5. Minimize Distraction
Put yourself “in the zone” and block out any kind of distractions. Close the doors and windows to block out noise. Silence your phone, or better yet, turn it off. Your phone can be a big distraction and affect your focus.
As for me, unfortunately, as a student mom and an international student, I couldn’t afford to silence or turn off my phone. As much as I don’t like to think about it, there’s still a possibility that my daughter’s teacher called me over for some emergency at the school. Or my aging parents from home, thousands of miles away in another part of the globe, try to contact me.
I need to keep my phone on and check if it vibrated. But that was it. Nothing more. I mentioned earlier that I used the Pomodoro technique where I can have a 5-minute break after 25 minutes of uninterrupted working and studying.
Well, I use that break time to check on my phone, but only for a minute. Only to see what’s coming from the notifications. If I didn’t see anything urgent, I will put them back without even opening them.
Don’t forget to block the surfing of the time-wasting website. If you need to browse the internet for your study, focus!! Don’t get distracted by clicking on things not related to your study.
Some people are not comfortable with total silence. If you like to hear something during your study, use tranquil background music or whatever you prefer to make you relax and able to concentrate more.
When you study or work on your assignments, sometimes you get carried away focusing on finishing your task and concentrating on your study materials.
If you listen to music while studying, there’s a big possibility that you put on your headset the whole duration of your study. This habit will damage your hearing in the long run.
Put a good-quality speaker on instead. This way, you could spend hours working and studying without risking damaging your ear.
6. Use the Space for Study Purpose Only
You choose the spot carefully and decorate them to your liking. It’s not surprising that your study place is your favorite spot in the house. But don’t get too comfortable and start using them for things other than studying.
Although it is tempting to just chill out and watch some movies, play games, or even eat and sleep, avoid doing these in your study space. Dedicate them exclusively to studying. Therefore, you will associate the presence of the space with studying only.
7. Decorate Your Study Space
To transform your study space for maximum productivity, you need to decorate them. Experiment with colors. Bright colors enhance productivity and keep the brain going. Neutral tones give a calm and relaxing atmosphere. Whichever works for you. Here are some ideas you could check.
You can also put on some decorations like prints of motivational quotes, quotes from your favorite books or movies et cetera. To motivate you, you can also put on family pictures.
My family is the reason I went back to school as an adult learner and student mom. When I feel tired and unmotivated, I lifted myself up by looking at their pictures. It reminded me why I was doing this in the first place, and that all these hardships were worth it.
But, bear in mind that when it comes to decorating your study room/ space, you need to also think about furnishing them well.
Give yourself enough workspace so you don’t feel suffocated. If your space is tiny, work on the layout and the arrangement of the furniture so that it creates the illusion of a bigger space.
Your seat should be comfortable (but not too comfortable that you would want to sleep on it) and don’t forget to adjust them properly so that your elbows rest on the table or desk.
This will prevent you from having to hunch your shoulders forwards and feet dangling uncomfortably, or not have your feet touch the ground at the proper height. Give a sensible amount of distance between your eyes and the monitor of your laptop/PC.
8. Set Parameters
Let your family knows, that your study space/room is a restricted area and reserved for you only. Gently inform your children that when you are in the room or sitting in your study space, you are not to be disturbed, only in a case of a real emergency that they could disturb you.
Convince them that you will make sure they got everything they need before you start studying (and therefore, they have no reasons to disturb you), and that you’ll be spending time with them as soon as you finish with your study.
Keep your word!! If you want them to respect you and your need to be left alone, you need to respect them too by keeping what you promised.
To avoid being away too long, try to schedule your work around THEIR schedule. Maximize your productivity by working and studying when your family is not around, when they are at work and school, or when they are sleeping.
Use this printable workbook to record your Back to School Research. Don’t make all that Campus Visits, Virtual Tours, Webinars, and Q&A with the school’s admission personnel go to waste !! Write down the information you have collected in this workbook.
Study them later carefully to help you weigh in the pros and cons of each university and decide the best place for you to continue your study.
9. Clean Up After Studying
Avoid cluttering your study space. Make habits of cleaning everything up every time you finish your study for the day. Therefore, it will become a routine that can make you uncomfortable when you are not doing it as usual.
For some people (me included), setting aside a specific time to clean our study space or room could be something we keep on avoiding, especially when papers start to pile up. The messier and more cluttered our space, the more we want to procrastinate on cleaning them.
Thus, cleaning the study space after we use it is a must, before everything starts to get more disorganized. This cleaning-up process is even more important if you have plants in your study space/rooms. Certain houseplants improve indoor air quality and make your environment more peaceful.
But just make sure you buy a low-maintenance houseplant and that you take good care of them, don’t let the presence of your plants give the opposite effects by making your study room look dirty and untidy from the dirt that you don’t clean up regularly.
Over to You…
As adult learners and student moms/dads, you might not have much time to study. Therefore, maximizing your time to increase your productivity is crucial.
One of the things you could do to boost your productivity is to make your environment the best study space ever. Identify your study style, choose a specific room or space in your house and create a productive study space.
Decorate them how you like, without neglecting the ergonomic aspects of your body. Have proper lighting to avoid torturing your eyes. Minimize distractions, including from your own family, use the space /room only for studying and clean them regularly to keep them clean and tidy.
What do you think? What are the must-haves in your study space? How did you decorate them? What are the things you should improve in your study space? What is your favorite thing about your study room? Do you have any favorite objects? Hit the comment below and let me know…
Do you find this useful? Pin it for later…do you know anyone who’s thinking about decorating their study room, or loves to decorate? Please share this on social media so that they can see it too…
Thanks so much and happy decorating!!!
- How to Stop Your Phone Addiction and Become More Productive Adult Students
- Thinking About Going Back to School as An Adult? Answer These Questions First!!!
- How to Enjoy Study Abroad Experience as An Adult Student
- 8 Things You Absolutely Need to Have Before Going Back to School as Adult Students
Follow me on Instagram