The Student
Lifestyle
Studying from home – tips, tricks and getting your reading fix
by Caitlin Barrowman, 4/10/20

As I travel back to Edinburgh, I’m unsure of what’s going to greet me but I know I’ll arrive in a slightly different city to the one I left before lockdown. Studying from home (#SFH) this semester will no doubt make it a strange one, but it provides the chance to find a new way of studying successfully so here are some tips on how to smash your courses from your bedroom.

The Perfect Study Space

I’m always falling into the ‘I’ll just finish this reading in bed’ trap, only to settle for a nap instead. With most studying happening from our bedrooms, it’s more important than ever to create a dedicated space where your brain can work.

Make your desk somewhere you WANT to be: declutter and organise, and if possible put it somewhere with natural light to keep you awake and refreshed. Self-motivated study can become tedious, so adding reminders of why you’re doing the work can make your environment extra-productive: I have my goals for the year above my desk, so when I’m feeling overwhelmed I remember what the work is for.
A key to creating the right atmosphere is choosing the perfect music. Study.com reports that the right music has potential to improve focus and relieve anxiety, so choose something to fit the energy of the task. Personally, listening to familiar music turns my study session into a karaoke session way too quickly, so I love Spotify’s ‘Lo Fi Beats’ playlist for creating a chilled vibe that enhances focus. Just be consistent with whatever works for you.

Creating Routine

A good study routine will help reduce procrastinating, so I’d recommend setting one even if your online lectures are available whenever. One huge advantage of SFH is that you can work at your most productive time; if you’re more focused in the morning, start the day as if you have a 9AM lecture and save down time for the evening and if you’re more of a night owl then take the morning slowly and start your first task after lunch.

Make writing a to-do list your first activity as doing this will put you in the right frame of mind for the day and ticking off each task is always satisfying.


In order to stick to your routine, getting outside is important. With little reason to at the moment, you’ll burn yourself out by staying stuck to your desk. The morning walk to lectures makes me less of a zombie and more ready to focus, so if you’re the same, start your day with a walk to mimic that routine. If not, take regular breaks to get outside and enjoy this late summer weather. Your brain will thank you.

Avoiding Distractions

Studying effectively while your friends are in the next room to tempt you with literally anything else might seem impossible, but planning your day could be the answer. While you’re to-do-listing, schedule in spending time with your friends – a dinner, walk or movie night. Having something social at the end of your list will motivate you to get through it.


Everyone is dealing with this situation in their own way so patience with your flatmates is key. If you’re feeling crowded, coffee shops are still open so find a cosy corner to get that reading done in peace.

Resources & Inspiration

Most University libraries are open, so all the usual resources are available – if you’re looking for more inspiration at home, the Open University website’s ‘publicly available’ section provides a wide range of free academic materials, so definitely browse that.


And most importantly, be patient with yourself: if you got through lockdown, you can get through this semester from home.

Image credit: Peter Olexa via Pixabay