We love this Study Environment Analysis Tool that Virginia Tech developed, but really, the key is to ensure that your study space is quiet and free of as many distractions and possible. For those of us with less than ideal set ups at home (“Nora, GO TO BED!”), this might take some creativity.
For starters, if your study space happens to be a communal area (in the kitchen, perhaps), be consistent. Let everyone know that between 8 and 10, this is your space and that your space is a quiet one. You are not to be disturbed. You may even want to consider headphones, not only a means of blocking out distractions but a visual indicator for your housemates that you. are. busy.
And speaking of headphones, consider what you’re listening to and have a look at these tips. If you find yourself singing along to “Heart of Glass,” you might want to consider something else like Elmnts, a Google Chrome app that offers ambient, distraction-free sounds like a forest, gentle rain, or coffee shop.
You’ll also want to make sure your study space is comfortable, but not too comfortable. If you study in your bedroom, remember that you want to be comfortable enough to think and retain, not nap. This means that you’ll want to be particularly aware of your own body temperature as well. Soft lighting, a comforter, and a thermostat set to 84 does not a study space make.
Finally, ensure that when you have a computer in front of you, it’s a study tool, not a distraction. You’re researching Kierkegaard, not your best friend’s cousin’s barbeque on Facebook. For those of you with less than exemplary will power, you might want to consider an app like Strict Workflow, which temporary blocks social sites and other virtual distractions during your study time.