Every September, we turn a fresh page. It’s the time when we re-establish our regular schedules at work, get the kids back to school, and re-start all those other annual activities we took a break from over the summer.
If you’re looking to give yourself, and your school-age children, a motivation boost for the upcoming busy season, why not consider redesigning your family study space? A homework nook or home office that’s quiet, comfortable and organized will give you the inspiration you need to get back into the swing of things. Here are the top three ways to get it right.
Tip 1: Find a quiet spot
Whether your study space is for studying or for working, you’ll want to first make sure it’s located in a private, quiet spot in your home. If you don’t have a dedicated room, choose the quietest area you can: one that’s away from distractions (like TVs) and high-traffic areas (like the kitchen or living room).
Also consider adding a lightweight divider, like a three-panel screen, to give the spot a sense of privacy and solitude. It might not block all noise, but it will offer a psychological barrier, so you won’t be distracted by dinner on the stove or video games on the TV. You can also opt to purchase a set of noise-cancelling ear phones to help promote focus.
Tip 2: Sketch out a design
Once you’ve chosen your study area, you’ll need to take a quick inventory of what type of work will happen here. This will help you determine how to organize it. Ask yourself what kind of equipment is needed to support the work.
- What kind of computer will you be using? (Laptop, desktop?)
- Will you or your child need desk space to sketch or draw?
- Will you need a printer?
- Will you need a filing cabinet?
- Will you need a bookshelf or a side table to store extras like pens, pencil, staplers and books?
- Where are the nearest power outlets? Are there enough to support the electronics setup?
Once you’ve determined your study needs, sketch out a to-scale drawing to make sure all your furnishings and tools will fit in your space. This drawing can help you when you’re deciding on any new purchases—that way you know if you have enough space for both that L-shaped desk and a bookshelf, or if you may need to consider something smaller.
Another option could be to rough out the dimensions of your furniture on the floor using masking or painter’s tape to ensure they’ll fit in the chosen space.
Tip 3: Fine-tune for comfort
Once you’ve nailed down the space’s practical considerations, adjust your desk, chair, and any other furnishings using the principles of ergonomics. That means refining the height and angle of the chair, desk, and accessories so that they suit your body’s needs and will keep you comfortable throughout hours of work.
The desk or table surface should be able to fit the computer while also allowing enough elbow room for typing and operating the mouse, along with any other activities—like drafting, note-taking, or drawing—that might take place.
The computer monitor should be at eye-level. If possible, find one that’s adjustable, or install an adjustable desk that can be perfectly positioned for the user.
If there are multiple users of the space, show the others how to re-position the furniture and accessories for their own height.
Additionally, modern research reinforces the importance of a chair with proper support. So, if your budget allows, purchase an ergonomic office chair. These usually have wheels, so you may also need to buy a protective hard-plastic mat for the floor.
In a pinch, a dining room chair topped with a back pillow will do the trick. Just make the seat you choose is not too comfortable… an arm chair might go too far in the direction of relaxation and prevent you from buckling down to do your work!
Try it out
Once you’ve checked these considerations off your to-do list, you can feel confident that your space will be tailored for maximum productivity. Just remember, with such an effective study area, you may need someone to come remind you to take a break for dinner!
For more tips on staying organized and productive, visit our preparing for moving day blog.