Calling all K-12 students, Ph.D. aspirants, and those of your who are looking at your online class screen after hours – those professionals who want to know more, the moms that are about to go back into the uncertain workforce, and those who are desperately trying to learn a new skill.
We are all students. Some of us are painfully aware of our own ADHD. Maybe it’s not clinical, but our lives have started to revolve around short stimuli and fleeting moments delivered by our mobile device, that it’s becoming harder and harder to concentrate on longer materials like articles and chapter reading assignments.
We really feel like this has taken the biggest hit. Why? Because we do most of our work on the screen. Some students (especially when taking online classes from home, a very common thing in the age of COVID) even sit in complete darkness. Lighting affects how alert we are, and can actually have a great impact on our concentration and alertness. What to do?
Get those LEDs already! Don’t know what to get exactly? If you’re still holding on to your energy-guzzling Edison type bulb, all you have to do is replace it with E14 light bulbs – they are probably the most classic and basic LEDs out there.
What’s the advantage? Glad you asked! There have been studies in concentration done, of course. They have shown that:
- LED lights boost cognitive skills
- LEDs lower rates of error in students
- The reading speed is improved
- Concentration is improved
- Hyperactivity in K-12 students is reduced
This is because LED lights can imitate natural light – and we’re simply not getting enough of that these days.
One of our colleagues over at the IT department sent us a photo of his workstation once. It was his couch, with a creaky coffee table that was full of magazines, notes, coffee cups, and Star War figurines.
We know that IT people like to be eccentric, but the problem is that this is what the study area of a lot of students looks like nowadays. And that’s not good.
If your work area is cluttered, it might contribute to your attention wandering and many subconscious distractions. It’s best to clean your work area before you sit down to studying. This way, the only thing in front of you will be your work. Even an excessive amount of coffee cups or loose papers will create a sense of chaos and disorder.
When you tidy up, don’t forget to dust and wipe down surfaces. Seriously – it will get you motivated. Everyone always feels better when they come to the office after the janitor has just paid us a visit – clean countertops, work stations, emptied garbage cans, and that “clean” smell – mix that with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, and the world is yours for the taking!
A Room of One’s Own
Every student needs their own study space. This has to be an exclusive study corner that is study-only. This is where you put your thinking cap on, concentrate, and people know to leave you alone. There is nothing worse than studying in the middle of your family’s arguments, games, comings, and goings.
Virginia Woolf knew this well. Her whole entire extended essay is dedicated to this, and although her subject were women writers, this concept of personal space and comfort that one needs in order to produce valuable results applies to everyone, especially if they want to absorb knowledge and be productive.
This might take some remodeling, but getting a study nook set up is going to have immediate effects on any student’s study habits, progress, and success.
What should such a study space have?
- A desk (so you can sit upright – not slouched over, half laying down)
- A comfortable chair
- A bright light (it should be an LED light adjusted to natural daylight temperature, not that of an oil lamp or a candle-lit dinner!)
These might seem like not much – but in fact, many students, especially K-12 students, struggle to find this space. It’s hard to access exactly when a child should have a “serious” place to study, but most experts agree that it’s when they start going to pre-school. A lot of parents miss this time slot, but it’s great to teach a child to be serious about their study space very early on.
It’s easy to build a habit when they’re young – chances are that later when faced with the couch and uncomfortable contortions of the body, they’ll choose the study space that they feel comfortable with and used to – a table and an ergonomic chair. This will help them to concentrate and not only make their results better, but it will also make their lives easier.
Yes, interior design can make or break a person’s study habits. It’s a proven thing. But it doesn’t mean that you have to turn your whole living area upside down – only figure out how to make a separate space for studying, whether you’re setting up this space for yourself or for your children.