Can't Stay Focused? How to Create the Perfect Study Environment to Stay Motivated

Let's face it — studying can be a total bore. You sit yourself down to focus on studying. But before you know it, you're dozing off, staring into space, or messing with your phone. Here are some tried and tested tips to incorporate into your study environment to stay motivated!

Updated 29 Jul 2019

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Let's face it — studying can be a total bore.

You sit yourself down, fully determined to finish studying that difficult chapter, but you get distracted extremely quickly. Before you know it, you're dozing off, staring into space, or messing with your phone.

But it doesn't have to be that way. The trick is to create the perfect study environment so that you can concentrate and focus on getting your studying done.

Here are some tried and tested tips that you can incorporate into your study environment to maintain focus and productivity!

#1. Go unplugged

Make it a point to turn off all electronics — kill the TV, log off Facebook and put your smartphone in another room. Yes, we know it's hard not to be connected, but cutting out all distractions will help you get more done.

If you can't trust yourself to be disciplined about it, use Google Chrome's StayFocusd extension. It limits the time you can spend on time-wasting websites. Once you've used up your allocated time, you'll be banned from accessing these sites for the rest of the day.

Find yourself constantly gravitating to your phone. Use the Stay Focused: Site & App Block app (Android only) for your smartphone! You can block apps, websites and keywords basis the conditions defined by you! In addition to website blocking and app blocking, You can set limits on your overall phone usage as well.

Remember that you can easily run out of willpower, so using these tools will help you stick to your study goals and routine!

#2. Plug in your headphones

... but avoid lyrics!

Although research has shown that studying in complete silence is best, music can help to regulate your mood so that you are in the right frame of mind to study.

If you choose to study with music, the most important thing to remember is to avoid music with lyrics. This is so that the songs aren't competing for memory space in your brain.

Spotify has a huge database of playlists — calming atmospheric rock, classical orchestra sonatas, melodic electronica and even rain sounds!

Remember that music affects people differently, so try various types of music and background sounds until you find your golden combination.

#3. Take it to the cafe

Settling in a cafe to get some studying and work done is a growing trend. There's free WIFI, air-conditioning and a never-ending supply of caffeine — what's not to love?

But that's not all. Research has shown that modest background noise in busy cafes can actually create enough of a distraction to help you think creatively and imaginatively. This can help with studying, especially if you are stuck on a particular problem.

But beware — loud and disruptive conversations, which can be a frequent occurrence at cafes, can break your concentration. Make sure you have headphones close by!

Bonus Tip: Can't afford to be at the cafe all the time? Coffitivity expertly recreates a coffee shop atmosphere for your enjoyment — anytime anywhere!

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#4. Create a conducive study station in your bedroom

Not a cafe person? Prefer studying late into the night in the comfort of your own bedroom?

You can always create a conducive environment in your bedroom to maximise productivity. Here are some pointers to take note of:

  • Never, ever study on your bed (you might as well sing yourself a lullaby)
  • Always keep your study station neat, tidy and organised
  • Shut the room entryway to keep out distracting sounds
  • Make sure you have sufficient lighting
  • Use the space only for studying and nothing else

Using your study station for studying and for studying only is really helpful. It helps your brain associate the space with studying, so that every time you head over to that space, you're immediate conditioned to go into study mode.

#5. Camp at the library

It appears to be so clear, but many students disregard these quiet asylums.

Libraries are great places to study because they are intended to be quiet, calm and serene. After all, these spots of quieted clamour and negligible distractions have been helping students excel for centuries! With minimal distractions and a "studying atmosphere", you may find that 2 hours in the library can be worth 5 hours in your own room.

Pack your textbooks, search for a good spot and get some intense studying done. Bring your headphones if you like including some delicate noise, or simply delight in the quiet sounds of page turns and hushed whispers of students working diligently.

Bonus: Studying at the library also gives you easy access to a HUGE amount of resources — textbooks, journals, and more often than not, the top student in class!

#6. What's your prime time?

Just as how TV stations have prime time movies showcasing popular ones, try finding out what your prime time is for studying!

Some students prefer to study early in the morning, before an entire day's worth of classes. Others feel that their best mental vitality is at night after the day's obligations are done. Keep experimenting to find out which specific hours of the day where you have the ability to understand concepts and remember diagrams better.

Get more work done during those hours and transform yourself into a proficient studying machine!

What other things do you do to create the perfect study environment? Let us know in the comments below!

For more study tips, check out this article: Don't Study Harder, Study Smarter: 5 Tips to Ace College Exams

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    Loh Sue May

    Loh Sue May

    Editor and writer. When I'm not busy putting words onto pages, I'm messing with spreadsheets and playing air guitar.