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How to Create a Study Environment in College that Fosters Productivity

May 26, 2016

You shouldn’t feel bad if you cannot get focused in your dormitory or at home. The truth is, it takes a lot of adjustments to turn a room into a highly efficient studying environment. Since this space is playing a great part in the learning process and information retention, it’s high time you take things into your own hands and create an optimal knowledge-acquiring nook.

Beloved music

Many of us listen to some music as we tend to our study notes. Now, does this really help or hinder our learning process? The answer may differ with different people, and I remember I just had to listen to the music when I did my vocabulary drilling to eliminate the surrounding distractions.

Interestingly, the scientists have discovered that keeping our headphones on during the studying process lowers the retention rates. However, the gentle low volume background music is a welcomed study aid.

Dealing with background sounds

I was a true textbook example of a student who gets distracted by pretty much everything, and I actually had to stop mid this sentence to watch an educational cartoon version of Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda (true story!). Students like me are struggling to stay concentrated with an abundance of indoor and outdoor sounds of varied intensity disrupting the silence.

To improve your studying fort, go by Socrates’s words and get to know thyself. Do you need the light background buzz or total silence to thrive? Test out both library and some coffee shop to figure what is your ideal setting. Additionally, consider installing a dependable noise reduction feature in your home.


As I’m writing this, I’m pretending the overhead incandescent bulbs (booo!) are not blinding me at all. Thankfully, it’s only temporary, since these conditions can cause serious eye strain and could lead to dry eyes syndrome. During study sessions, it’s downright impossible to soldier on in the overly bright or dimmed ambiance, and it may cause a series of side-effects, from headaches to eye damage.

What to do? Assess the lighting circumstances of your study spot. Get rid of the glare and shadows. Lastly, opt for fluorescent fixtures and quality task lighting.

You’re hot and you’re cold

My fingers don’t seem to get any blood supply as they’re cold all year round in remotely cold conditions. This means that chilly rooms are out of question if I hate to write or type. Fellow individuals may experience this during their learning process, and the cold feel may shift their attention. It works in the opposite side of the spectrum, with hot and humid areas.

The solution: adjust the thermostat at an acceptable level. Otherwise, equip yourself with extra clothes or refreshing beverages.

Clock obsessed

I present to you one of my self-sabotaging habits: checking the time. This has decidedly brought me more harm than good. It works to speed some people up, or get them thinking how new episode of Game of Thrones airs in 4h and they simply have to see what happens to the Mother of Dragons plotline.

How to use the time-keeper to you advantage? Set out a schedule, but don’t get too comfortable and challenge yourself occasionally.

Roommates and other people

I can’t even read a book for longer than 2 min when there’s someone in the room. Ugh! Adapting to other people’s rhythm can be a trouble and a nuisance as well. Sometimes even the littlest discordant sounds and interruptions can drive you crazy. It’s best to get some privacy and let your family or roommates know you need plenty of silent treatment. Employ some noise-cancelling headphones, find a quiet spot and devote your attention to books.

Feng Shui

This is a legitimate method that provides you with a healthy and productive studying environment.

  • Get enough sunlight with a desk moved near the window, as sunlight improves our mood
  • Remove the clutter and clean up (swap the restricted feel and lost notes for an unburdened and relaxed state of mind).

I have dug up some productivity hacks from my studying routine many students will undoubtedly recognise as their own. Master the environment optimisation prior to actual learning to achieve the best results.

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