The perfect at-home desk setup

With Edinburgh increasingly feeling the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the requirement for social distancing means that your preferred space to study, whether it be the library, Teviot or your favourite coffee shop, are now officially no-go zones. However, the pandemic does not change the fact that deadlines are imminent, therefore it is going to be necessary to study at home. If you are someone that is already quite used to working at home, you might breeze through this transition.

However, for those of us that prefer to keep home a study-free zone, it will undoubtedly prove to be more of a challenge to stay focused and motivated in an environment we usually associate with relaxation, leisure and rest. To make this transition easier, here are a few tips and tricks to convert your living space into a makeshift studying paradise.

  1. Dedicate an area for studying

As tempting as it is on these chilly mornings, don’t fall into the trap of working in bed! We’ve all done it in the past, but if you’re studying for long periods of time each day, it’s important to set up a more sustainable space for study which is separate from relaxation spaces, and it’s good for your posture. In creating a makeshift study-space, try to replicate your ordinary studying environment at a desk or table, and try to keep your work surface as clean and clutter-free as possible. Tidy desk, tidy mind! 

  1. Get comfortable!

Just because you’ve cordoned off a table as a study-zone doesn’t mean it can’t be comfortable. Make your zone aesthetically pleasing by sticking a plant on your desk, and keeping your stationary in a nice pot! Burn a scented candle whilst you work, or play some music. Get creative and figure out what’s going to keep you ticking. A chair with some form of back-support is always a good way to ensure you stay upright and comfortable.

  1. Get that good lighting!

This is an obvious tip, but an incredibly important one. Natural light is optimum, so it might be a good idea to rearrange your room and put your desk or table next to a window. The view might not be as aesthetically pleasing as gazing over the Meadows from the fourth floor of the library, but it’s surely better than facing a wall. It’s also a good idea to let some fresh air in occasionally too. If you’re a night owl and prefer to study in the evenings, keep a lamp on your desk so that you don’t strain your eyes and make sure that you don’t read your laptop in a dark room – this can lead to headaches. 

  1. Don’t stay chained to your desk!

It’s so important to move around and stay active, so be sure to take breaks from studying. Whilst it is tempting grab a quick lunch in front of your laptop, dedicating time to eat away from the screen reminds you to take regular breaks and gives the brain and eyes a chance to refresh. If you were working in the library, it is more than likely that you would go out for a coffee break or eat your lunch with your friends away from the desk, so keep up these habits and have a break with your family or treat yourself to a coffee in the garden. 

  1. Keep a to-do list visible

Planning out daily study tasks in a planner or on a to-do list and keeping it in sight on your work surface is a great way to stay focused and motivated. It keeps you organised and on track, and also gives a great sense of satisfaction to tick something off! Once you have completed your list, you can stop working guilt-free. 

  1. Last but not least, pack up your work at the end of a study session!

By putting your laptop and books away, even if this just means stacking them in a pile, you’re marking the end of a study session, which is another good way of keeping study and leisure separate. An open book or laptop will continue to stare at you all night, luring you to just do that little bit more whilst you are trying to wind down. Out of sight, out of mind! It’s important to have dedicated downtime. An empty, tidy desk will also be much more inviting the following morning than a cluttered desk with unfinished work. Tidying your study space can become the equivalent of leaving the library and packing your bag. 

In these highly stressful and unsettling times, the least you deserve is a comfortable space to make studying that little bit more appealing. Give these tips a go and hopefully improve your productivity and motivation. We can nail this studying-from-home thing!

Image Credit: Wallpaper Flare 

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