Creating a good at-home workspace

Creating a good at-home workspace

Nearly all students have done schoolwork at home at some point in their lives, even before many of us made the switch to virtual learning this year. Some may have even found themselves doing homework every single night. Now, with even more of the educational process taking place online and in the home, having an effective workspace is more important than ever.

An at-home workplace is more than just sitting on the couch with your laptop doing homework while your younger siblings are watching TV or your dad is in the next room loudly listening to music while making dinner. In order to give yourself the best possible work environment outside of school, you need a dedicated space that is only for you and doing your homework. There are a few specific dos and don’ts to keep in mind while building your workspace:

DO:

  • Find a quiet place where you can be alone. Having other people and activities going on around can be distracting. It is best to choose a place in your house, or even outside, with little foot traffic. This knocks out places like living rooms, where people may gather.
  • Separate your workspace from your leisure areas. While it may be tempting to do your schoolwork in bed, having a workspace be the same as where you sleep or watch TV at the end of the day will confuse your brain and make it more difficult to get into a working mindset when you need to work, and a relaxing mindset when it is time to relax.
  • Choose a comfortable place to work. You should not work in a place you already have set aside to relax, but you should still choose a place that puts your mind and body at ease. There is no need to add any extra stress to your at-home school environment.
  • Consider how your space will be set up. Whether you will be sitting back in a beanbag chair or standing at a desk, think about how you are going to use this space before you start setting it up. A lack of planning and forethought will result in a less than ideal work area that may not help you as much as it could have if you had planned how it would be put together before you actually started working on it.
  • Gather necessary materials. This obviously includes school supplies like textbooks, laptops and notebooks, but can also mean items like a new desk or chair, or even something as simple as a water bottle and some snacks. Bring these things together in one place, so you will have everything you could possibly need, and will not be running around all over your house looking for things once you get started.

DON’T:

  • Rush the setup of the place where you may be spending most of your time during the week. Set aside adequate time to put everything together how you want it and make sure you are satisfied with the result before you start using the space for work.
  • Work in a different place every day. If your workspace becomes ineffective or boring over time, it is fine to shift things around. However, this should be a rare occurrence. Build your space in a way that works best for you and stick to it for as long as you can.
  • Totally close yourself off from the rest of the world. Your at-home workplace should not be a place where you disappear for days on end without food, sleep or interaction with other people. While the area should be clear of distractions, make sure you have an open window or a reminder set to get up and stretch your legs every once in a while.
  • Get too comfortable. If you find yourself falling asleep in class, maybe try to get more sleep at night, but also consider removing a pillow or two from your homework cave. You need to be able to stay as alert as possible during school.
  • Underestimate the importance of your workspace. When you decide to put together a work area, remember to take it seriously and use it only for schoolwork. There is no point in taking the time to put this space together if it is going to be a thrown-together mess, or if you are not going to use it as intended.

A comfortable, efficient and dedicated workspace can be a simple organizational aid, or even a small but vital bit of structure for those who have difficulty adjusting to the free form nature of this school year. No matter how frequently or infrequently you end up using it, this space is a valuable tool. They may look and function differently for each person, but everyone can benefit from having one together and in use, so consider setting up a homework area for yourself.

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