Sunday, July 28, 2013

Back to School Shopping

While these items may not always be presented on the traditional school supply list, a good workspace can go a long way toward academic excellence.

Whether you are headed back to elementary school or off to college, there is one essential feature that every student needs: the perfect study area. While a back to school shopping list may not always inclue a rug or desk lamp, it's never too late to get your workspace in order. Here are a few  helpful hints for sprucing up your study area.

Smart Storage
Storage in a workspace should be organized around your study and work habits. Choose an organization and storage system that works both with your personality and in an effort to limit your clutter. It helps to have what you need at your fingertips, such as notepads, pens, laptop or tablet. Your workspace, however, will need to have enough of a working area for you to spread out and not become frustrated with the lack of space. Use wall space for shelving or bookcases to help keep your desk clear.

Image Courtesy of the Container Store
Smart storage includes cord organization. No doubt you have a multitude of cables for devices and cords for chargers that need to be organized. It's a good idea to not only use and approved power strip, but to keep cords tucked away, untangled and out of sight. Try storing a charger in a drawer or bin when not in use to keep your workspace clear.

Remember: you are going to be here a while, cramming for midterms, writing a term paper or developing your portfolio. Depending on the type of work you produce, you may work better on your bed, sofa or floor, rather than at a desk. If your study or work space appears drab, dull and dreary, that just may be how you begin to think of the tasks at hand. If your workspace is comfortable and inviting, you are more likely to be more productive (look that one up for statistics class). Adding pillows, a rug, a fluffy bedspread or a versatile piece of furniture such as a pouf could mean the difference between a barely passing grade or an outstanding grade.

Peg Boards or Dry Erase Boards
If you are the type of person who needs in your face reminders or who must jot down ideas before they slip away, consider installing a peg board or dry erase board above your work space. A peg board can help you visualize ideas and a dry erase board can help you work out that calculus solution that continues to elude you on paper. Surround yourself with whatever tools you need to be most productive.

Good Lighting
Go for as much natural light as possible. If you are lucky enough to have one or more windows for natural lighting, harness this natural lighting to your advantage. Natural lighting can help lighten the mood, making the task of tackling homework that much easier. If your access to natural light is minimal, or for those late hour study sessions, install plenty of lamps. Try using a combination of desk lamps, clip lamps and floor lamps. Relying only on overhead lighting or fluorescent can be disastrous, particularly if it is too dim and dreary.

Make the Space Your Own
Hang up art projects, display awards and show off your accomplishments for added inspiration. The  more personal touches you add to your work space, the more inviting it will be for creative and intuitive stimulation. In the instance that a workspace is shared with a roommate or cube mate, be sure to have your own designated work area, with all of the necessary tools at your fingertips.

Tie it all together with your flair and personality. Here are some ideas to get you started.

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