As someone who is very introverted, physical surroundings and the overall vibe of my space is very important to me because a lot of the time the atmosphere around me impacts my mood and my sense of stability. Because of that I enjoy moving furniture around, decorating and DIYs and some would say I am actually quite obsessed with changing my surroundings to fit my mood. Sometimes I adjust my bedroom to fit a specific aesthetic I’m into (I am also very finicky about that), to reflect my mood and sometimes simply because my favourite colour has changed.
A space that gets rearranged a lot is my desk because as a student, I spend most of my time sitting at my desk pouring over books, making notes, writing assessments and drowning in coffee. Therefore, if I’m not feeling the look of my desk then I won’t be using it and that’s not good for my grades. To be fair, I don’t think I can even specify how many times I gave my desk a makeover but it has to be a really high number given how obsessed I am with it. Three of my favourite looks are my current aesthetic of pink and white, a yellow and blue theme and a cluttered autumn look that I go for every fall. Now that I made sure everyone knows that my priorities are not only weird but totally out of place, I will get to the main point of this blog post.
Given my obsession with redecorating and changing my surroundings (especially my study setup), I have poured over countless websites including Pinterest and Instagram to get inspiration for my very time-consuming mode of procrastination but I don’t think I ever found something that would fit me and the way I use my study area. Personally, to be successful in uni I only need my Chromebook, a notebook, a pen and my kindle and I am good to go. Given that I don’t need all that much stationery (I can’t believe I just typed that), my setup is mainly minimalistic and everything that I do need such as my electronics and my notebooks are easy to access. So here are a few tips I have learnt to help those who are trying to perfect their own study space and make it a productive work environment.
Only keep the things you need
Decluttering your space is the first step to becoming more productive and enjoying your study area more. Even though clutter can be an extension or a showcase of our personality and our interests clutter can also be distracting and suffocating. It can change the way you look at your study area and it can go from a productive space to an entertainment area. I always yo-yo between minimalism and maximalism because my personality is so colourful and I have so many interests – I always want to display them! Even if clutter can look fun, it doesn’t allow your space to be a study space so it has to go. Getting rid of clutter will give your study area a new vibe, it will allow you to see your goals in a clear light and in turn, you will be more productive.
Figure out your studying style
As I mentioned above, I am not the pen and paper kind of student. I don’t like writing on my texts (defacing books saddens me immensely for some reason) and I don’t need a thousand notebooks for all my modules because I have everything I need on my Chromebook including my lecture and seminar notes, important PDFs, sticky notes and reminders. This means that I don’t need the physical equivalent of folders, highlighters and post-it notes so they don’t have to be on my desk. This gives me more space to work on what really matters and to really focus on my studies. Therefore, when you try to figure out your personal studying style, think of your note-taking methods, your class requirements, etc. and go from there.
Planners, bullet journals and to do lists!
This point will definitely make me come across as controlling when in fact I am just overly anxious about everything. Something that makes my study area more productive and nice to stare at (let’s be honest, we all like pretty things) is my bullet journal which is always open on my desk. My bullet journal is practically an extension of who I am; a second brain if you will. That’s where I have all my appointments, classes, reminders, to-do lists, delivery notices, ideas and so on. Having it open on my desk all the time keeps me focused on my daily tasks and makes it easier for me to keep my life organized and stable. I also have a second notebook sitting right on top of my bullet journal (this is where I start to sound crazy) which is solely dedicated to expanding on my daily to-do list. This second notebook allows me to break down the tasks I have to accomplish and in turn it makes me a less anxious person because not only can I cross off multiple tasks which makes my brain understand that the task is not all that overwhelming, but it also makes me feel like I got all my marbles together. So I think the gist of this point is to be well organized and actively keep track of your goals and tasks for the day.
So here it is, my second, way-too-long post. Thank you for reading and feel free to add your own wisdom on this topic.
Check out my last blog post about preconceived notions regarding university *here*.