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How to Set Up a Study Space to Boost Productivity

Why it is important to set up a good study space

Having the right study environment can make all the difference to your academic success. It is important to set up an organized and comfortable study space to not only boost your productivity and help you stay focused and motivated, but encourage you to sit down and work in a comfortable, inviting study environment.

Whether you're moving into halls or you want to set up a study space at home, follow these tips and download our checklist to ensure your study space is optimized for efficiency and comfort.

Ideal ergonomic position of a person sitting at desk with computer screen
Illustration: Sarah MacReading, NY Times

1. Determine the ideal set up of your study space

Identify a dedicated area that is free of "stuff" and set it up to be used only as a study space so you can focus without distractions.

Using your bed as your study chair will just give you back or neck ache, and is not conducive to allow your brain to distinguish between work and rest mode.

Ergonomic comfort:

Make sure your desk chair is comfortable and at the right height, preferably with armrests to avoid neck, back and carpal tunnel pain. Your arm should be at a 90-degree angle to the desk.

Natural light:

Reliable Wi-Fi:

Noise considerations:

Adequate storage:


A snake plant in a container
Snake plant - also known as "Mother-in-law's tongue"!

2. Set Up the Essential Equipment for your Study Space

The following equipment is essential to help you study effectively in your work space. You can find a range of these items in our recommended products store:

Good quality laptop:

Your main tool for studying and completing assignments. You may also consider installing a monitor, wireless keyboard and mouse for added convenience.

Plug Adaptor and / or Power Strip:

To easily accommodate multiple electronic devices, particularly if your wall plug is a distance from your study space.


A printer is helpful (but not essential) for printing out study materials, research articles and assignments. Printers are relatively inexpensive to purchase, especially with a student discount, but the printer cartridges can be expensive. You may be able to pick up a second-hand one from an outgoing student. Alternatively, use the University Library printing facilities instead of cluttering your own study space set up.

Portable storage units:

Keep a multi-USB device and external portable hard drive handy for data storage and easy access.

Desk lamp:

Choose a desk lamp with led lighting, and built-in phone chargers and USB ports for convenient charging at your desk.

Organisation tools:

Folders, files, and stationery (highlighters, post-its, Blu-tack, noticeboard) and storage to keep your study materials organised. And a notepad to jot down quick notes, brainstorm ideas and create to-do lists.

Essay planner:

Use a structured essay planner to stay organised and on top of your academic writing. Check out our downloadable essay planning template when you sign up as a Member

3. Successful Strategies for your Study Space Set Up

  1. Keep a regular schedule: To stay on track with your studies, schedule regular slots in your calendar to write class notes, review a particular topic, prepare your dissertation outline, and note when assignments are due.

  2. Time management: Structure your study sessions with a clear start and end time. Stick to your schedule to maintain consistency.

  3. Pomodoro technique: If you struggle with prolonged concentration, try the Pomodoro technique - work for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break.

  4. Communication: Let friends and housemates know when you're in study mode and when you'll be available.

  5. Breaks and hydration: Taking regular breaks and staying hydrated will help you stay focused. Stand up, stretch and have a drink during your breaks.

  6. Cloud storage: Store your work on platforms such as OneDrive or Google Drive for easy access and to back up your files. A portable external hard drive is also recommended.

  7. Set goals: Set realistic and achievable goals for each study session. Whether it's completing a chapter, drafting an outline, or revising a topic, goals can give you a sense of direction and accomplishment.

Remember, the environment you set up around your study space is one of the key factors in achieving success in your academic or professional goals.

By following these tips, you'll be able to create a study space that suits your needs and preferences. Download our study space checklist below to help set it up.

Happy studying!

Study Workspace Checklist
Download PDF • 192KB


If you need more help or guidance on how to navigate the transition from high school to university, check out our website. There you will find useful blogs, resources, and FAQs to help your children survive and thrive on campus.

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