Ever wonder why you can’t get any work done? It’s possible that your environment is contributing to your lack of productivity. Everyone has different preferences for their ideal study space. If you’ve got a big test or paper coming up, it’s best if you adjust your surroundings to help your brain function at its optimal level.
Here are some things to consider if you’re looking to “feng-shui” your workspace.
A lot of projects require a large amount of space. Plus, sometimes it helps to have your work laid out all around you (like when you’re doing research). To prepare for this, make sure to keep your desk clear and clutter-free. If you constantly find yourself buried in piles of books and random papers—all of which have nothing to do with your work—you’re going to find it harder to focus. If you live in a small area or can’t spare the space, relocate to the library or a café with large tables when you need to spread out.
Sound (or silence) it out.
Some people need absolute silence to focus, while others thrive in the midst of noise. You can save appropriate soundscapes on your computer or phone to help you focus. Create a study playlist of “working songs” (depending on the person, that could feature hard rock, dubstep, classical piano sonatas, etc.). If music isn’t your thing, check out ambient or white noise generators, which create background noise to fit your preferences (like rainfall or “coffeeshop” sounds). And if you really like your silence… A pair of earplugs is your best friend!
Next time you’re finding it hard to concentrate, try and figure out what exactly is stopping you from getting your work done—and get rid of it. If Facebook updates or texts are constantly distracting you, disable those features on your devices (or put them away altogether). If you’re in a spot where people won’t stop talking, pack up your things and grab an individual study room. If you’re working near a window and can’t stop people-watching, close the curtains. It’s for your own good!
Make it your own.
The image of a cramped gray cubicle in a dimly lit office strikes panic in many of our hearts. Your workspace doesn’t have to be synonymous with a jail cell. You can actually form positive associations with your work if you personalize your environment a little. This can take on many forms: an inspiring desktop background, a mug of your favourite tea, a scented candle, a cat on your lap, etc. When work gets stressful, having familiar and comforting objects around can help you calm down.