September 6th is the kickoff to “Improve Your Home Office Week.” As an adult online learner, your study space is going to be an integral part of your online learning experience. Here are some tips for preparing your space to be both fun and functional. You’ll be spending a lot of time there, so make the most of it!
Selecting a Space
If you have a spare room in your home that you can dedicate to your home office — great! If not, look for a space in a low-traffic area of your home to set up shop. Places like the kitchen and living room tend not to be ideal, given their tendency to be family gathering places.
Make a List
Once you’ve found your dedicated space, make a list of the items that you will need to make practical use of the space while also being able to enjoy studying there.
- A desk or comfortable chair
- Select an ergonomic chair with lumbar support and a good backrest. You will likely be sitting in this chair for long periods of time, so be sure to take your time in selecting a comfortable seat.
- A desktop computer or laptop
- When setting up your computer, be sure to avoid direct sunlight because of electronic devices’ sensitivity to high temperatures.
- Internet service
- Printer, scanner and/or fax machine
- Most office supply stores sell devices that incorporate all of these functions, saving you money and space.
- Shelves or bookcases
- You’ll want to create a space to hold all of your books, binders, printouts and other reference materials.
- Filing cabinets
- Desk or floor lamps These are essential if the area you have selected is dimly lit or does not receive a lot of natural light.
- A bulletin or memo board This will be helpful in keeping track of your notes, class calendars, and other helpful information.
- Throw pillows, curtains, rugs, bean bag chairs and other items that give your space personality and make it more comfortable.
- Additional storage for items such as a stapler, book flags, sticky notes, pens, pencils, notepads and printer paper. Make sure everything has its place close at hand so that you can make the most productive use of your time.
Create Your Study Space Around How You Study
Your study space is, in many respects, going to be your classroom. You’ll want to create a study environment that fits in with the way you study. If you prefer a more stimulating environment, choose colors such as reds, yellows or oranges to keep you engaged. Prefer a more serene environment? Greens and blues will do the trick to help create a calm, soothing work space. Catering to your personality is not limited to your color palette.
Keep Out the Distractions
Your home office or study space should be used exclusively for studying. If you have children, make sure they know the rules. A spouse who has a tendency to leave things lying around? Make sure he or she knows the boundaries when it comes to your space. Try to avoid bringing any other hobbies or activities into the space that could distract you from your studies. A quiet area is optimal for allowing you to concentrate. If you are working in a shared space, consider purchasing a white noise machine, sound machine or noise-canceling headphones to help minimize distractions. Establish some guidelines with family and friends. Just because you are at home does not mean you are available to chat. Create a schedule so that your loved ones will know when you will not be available while you are pursuing your studies. Outline what you consider an “emergency” that can interrupt your study time.
Keep It Clutter-Free
A messy study space can result in misplaced class notes, a coffee-covered term paper and other office chaos. Take a few minutes every day to make your space neat and tidy. This will make you more efficient and productive, giving you the ability to get right to work when you’re ready for learning. Celebrate “Improve Your Home Office Week” with these tips for making your office space practical for your study habits, personality and lifestyle. If you have any questions regarding these home office solutions or our online learning programs, please feel free to contact us today!