You’re already a busy adult, and now that you’re a student in an online degree program, your time is even more precious. Setting up a home office for studying and completing coursework isn’t just convenient, it’s essential. Here are some tips to help you get the best out of your study time, whenever you make it:
Find a Study Space
Ideally, you would have an entire room which you could dedicate as your study space. But if this isn’t feasible (and it often isn’t), a dual- purpose space works too. Think about your spare bedroom, your attic or your basement – how might you use one of those spaces? You can also claim an area of a room to accommodate your study space. Ideally, your space will have a door you can close, or at least a room separator, so that everyone in the home knows that you are not to be disturbed.
Consider Everything You’ll Need
Make sure your study space has room for all of the items you’ll need. This may include:
- A desk, with a chair appropriate to your height
- A computer or laptop with secure internet connection
- Shelving for books, binders and other learning materials
- A good reading lamp
- A bulletin board or dry erase board
Schedule Times to Study
When you’re in an online program instead of in a traditional classroom, you have to make a greater effort to keep yourself on track in the absence of a physical classroom, instructor and classmates. Schedule times each day that you will study and complete assignments; make a routine of your schoolwork. Write down your study times in a day planner or on a calendar, or program them into your PDA or smart phone. Also, make note of scheduled lectures and discussion groups. Take your study time and class time just a seriously as you would any important appointments.
Keep Your Workspace Neat and Tidy
An organized work space can save you a lot of headaches. Keep school supplies organized and within arm’s reach. When you’re finished with something, put it back in the same place every time. Keep all important papers organized in a notebook or filing cabinet, or in a basket on your desk. Keep your workspace free of papers or other stray items. The key really is “everything in its place.”
If you live with others, let them know what time you study, and be clear that you’re not to be disturbed during that time. If necessary, considering hiring a babysitter a few hours a week or make other arrangements so that you can work in peace. Noise-cancelling or “white noise” headphones will allow you to study, or you can find headphones that will allow you listen to music while canceling out any background noise.
With a little effort and some good planning, you can have an ideal home office for studying. Set yourself up for success in your online program!