How an Organised Workspace Improves Learning

How an Organised Workspace Improves Learning

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Organise Your Home Office Day in March is all about creating order on the chaos that sweeps across a desk. When it comes to learning, it pays to get organised. But why is studying in an organised, positive environment so much better? And how can you achieve this?

There many research projects about studying and the effect on the local environ, all of which point to the same conclusion, more or less – an organised study environment, with minimum distractions but the right kind of background motivation is beneficial.

‘Being organised’ is a phrase that means different things to different people. What does it mean to you? Which of these distractions can you identify with and which help or hinder your learning?


Some students say they can’t work without it, but others find it a distraction and the playing of music whilst learning has long been debated. There is some suggestion that background music could help a student to focus on the task at hand.

Does it work for you? Research suggests the right kind of music is one with which you are familiar with and at a low volume in the background. There is some suggestion that this ambient music is also instrumental, as opposed to singing.


Time can be your friend and your enemy. Clock-watching is a way of marking how fast or slow time is moving. Being proactive is the key to managing time allocated to study.

Deal with it by not allowing time to drift. For example, study in blocks of 20 minutes coupled with an objective that you want to achieve in that time. This breaking down of time into chunks, rather than facing hours of study, is a great way to keep time on your side.


Part of being organised in your learning – and an important part – is to create the right environment. It needs to encourage you to focus on what you are doing, as well as being comfortable as you study too.

There is a practical element to the home office, something known as ergonomics. This is where design supports and comforts the body thus, your chair is not only the right height but supports your back too.

Lighting is an important part of a studying space. Pouring over books via a weak, non-illuminating light causes eye strain and this means, you start to flag quicker when it comes to reading and writing assignments.

Remedy poor lighting by;

  • Not working in shadow – make sure you have a light that illuminates your work area but also a light all around you.
  • Making best use of natural light – but shield your eyes from any glare
  • Changing the lighting in a room – to find a combination that fits you
  • Not opting for light that is too bright – this strains the eyes too. Choose soft white light as opposed to bright, almost blue lighting in your study area.

Control the environment

The climate in which you study also needs to be comfortable. Too cold and you will find it a chore and too hot, you find you might drift off to sleep…

Control the environment by opting for a warm space but because you might be stationary for long periods, use extra layers to stay warm.

Turn off distractions

Facebook. Checking your email (again). Tweeting. Checking your Twitter timeline. Reading the headline…

You name it, there is a distraction that prevents you stay on top of studying. There are many distractions and when it comes to identifying the best way for you to stay organised whilst studying, you need to be clear about what your personal distractions are.

Disconnecting from social media and the web is a great move, as well as leaving your phone out of reach. Some students set themselves ‘rules’ that within a certain time frame they will not use their phone, answers texts, go online etc.

Getting too comfy

The great thing about home learning courses is that you study in the place you love and know best, at times that suit you too along with other many benefits – studying at home, along with reading a chapter or two on your daily work commute, planning your assignment whilst sitting on a bench in the park eating lunch or being knee-deep in theories whilst snuggled in your bed.

Be aware of how you are feeling because this comfort level can impact on how well you study. For example, snuggling in bed is great but is it the best place to be examining a concept in detail? Is all that warmth making you drowsy? Are you really paying attention to what you are doing?

Studying from home is a great way to learn and yet, it can be a landscape of distractions. What do you think is your biggest hindrance when it comes to studying? How do you deal with it?

Nick Cooper
Nick is NCC's resident blog author and covers a range of subjects, including teaching and health & social care. NCC is an international learning provider with over 20 years’ experience offering learning solutions. To date, NCC has engaged with over 20,000 employers, and delivered quality training to over half a million learners.
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