How to Create the Perfect College Workspace

Whether it’s a two page essay or the great American novel, it’s not getting written on a cluttered desk.

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Whether it’s a two page essay or the great American novel, it’s not getting written on a cluttered desk.

How to Create the Perfect College Workspace

Making Your Workspace Work

Whether it’s a two page essay or the great American novel, it’s not getting written on a cluttered desk.

By Lindsey Davis, Iowa State University


During your time in college, you’re expected to work hard, think outside the box and constantly produce professional, high quality work.

In order to continually do so, you need a study space that encourages you to focus and create. I’m one of those people who tend to stay more on task when I’m doing homework or studying at home. I know not everyone feels the same way, but for those who also get more done when working at home, creating a steady work space that stimulates concentration and productivity will be extremely beneficial.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a few pointers to help you get your ideal study space ready.

Buy a Desk

Seems pretty obvious, right? You’ll need a large enough surface area to hold your laptop, your various coffee cups and miscellaneous papers that always tend to sprawl their way out. I’ve found that sitting at a desk made solely for homework and studying has truly increased my productivity. Something about having my own personal space to work makes me feel professional and like I can conquer anything.

How to Create the Perfect College Workspace

Along with a sturdy desk, you’ll need a comfy desk chair; just make sure it’s not too comfy because the goal of the study area is not to doze off dreamily.

Personally, I like desk chairs that don’t have wheels and don’t swivel because my easily distracted mind thinks twirling in circles is a little too much fun. Make sure it’s a chair that allows you to sit upright and in good posture, which could potentially help increase brain stimulation.

Hang Up Inspiration

If you haven’t seen one of the million pictures of gallery walls, you’re probably living under some sort of solid mineral material aka rock. These gallery walls include various photographs, pages from magazines/books/newspapers, framed quotes, etc.

Each gallery wall I’ve seen is personalized and catered to the individual’s interests and passions. Whatever you choose to hang up above your desk, make sure it’s something you love and want to look at every day. Maybe it’s a vision board or your personal manifesto.

Framed quotes and photographs can serve as continual modes of inspiration. Maybe you want to hang up a bulletin board and add bits and pieces of life as time goes on. Save all the free stickers you get and post them by your desk. Allow them to inspire you. Concert tickets, birthday cards, festival wristbands, don’t throw them away; hang them up. However you choose to decorate your space, just be sure that it makes you happy to look at and help you to not dread the studying ahead.

Organize, Organize, Organize

Having an organized desk is crucial to increasing productivity and concentration.

How can you expect yourself to write a killer literary analysis if there are Snickers wrappers and empty Starbucks cups littering your study area?

If you have random papers thrown all over, there’s no way your mind won’t be distracted by the clutter surrounding you.

Office supply stores and places like Target sell nifty desk organizers that will help you create a clean and neat study space. Buy a paper tray with different sections, which will allow you to organize papers. I suggest having a section for each class, for bills and for things that need to be taken care of. Having a paper tray will also help you sort through your mail instead of just having piles and piles of unopened bills and letters laying around.

Every writing utensil and paper should have a designated place to go. Above all, make sure that at the end of your studying and working that everything is back where it needs to be. Having a clean area ready to go each time you need to sit down and get stuff done will save you a lot of work in the long run.

Incorporate Some Greenery

Students need to do anything they can to create a desk space they don’t dread working at. Homework and studying gets boring, tedious and downright annoying sometimes.

Why not incorporate a little mother nature to help bring peace and zen to your work area? Placing small plants or succulents on your desk will bring you renewed energy and spirit to get after your homework.

Make It Personal

Your desk area should be no one’s but your own. You’re allowed to decorate and personalize your area in any way you please. If you want picture frames of family and friends on your desk, do it. Buy a decorative item that signifies it’s your space. Have the coffee cup with your initials on it ready to go. Making your area personalized and cozy will help aid in your desire to work at your desk.

Doing homework and forcing yourself to study can be hard enough. Creating a creative workspace helps lift the burden of doing such things.

Natural Light is Everything

If you have the opportunity to place your workspace in front or near a window, by all means do it. Natural lighting helps brighten your mood and brings you energy. I mean, who doesn’t like a little dose of sunshine?

How to Create the Perfect College WorkspaceIf you have your study area in a dimly lit area, chances are you may not find yourself being very productive in this area. A well-lit space is crucial in aiding to your productivity.

You’ll also want to invest in a lamp for those late-night study sessions. I personally like warm mood lighting as opposed to super bright light, but obviously the brightness of your lamp is completely up to what makes you work best.

Post Your Reason Why

What’s the point of going to college? Why am I spending an arm and a leg to get a degree? What will going to college do for me in the future? Print out a single statement of why you’re doing what you’re doing and why it’s so important to work hard. Looking at your reason why each day will help you stay motivated and trucking along.

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