I often read blogs and watch Youtube videos that talk about how to set up spaces for studying and writing in the hope that i will one day come across the best set up for my study and writing space. Unfortunately I've not yet found or created the perfect desk set up despite testing out many different ones. I have though created a perfect room for it.
I'm currently working on my final dissertation for my masters in philosophy having previously completed an open degree, both via the Open University which is a home study university. I've loved studying with the OU as it has meant that i can study around my work and life commitments. It does mean though obviously that i have to be very self motivated as i study and write my essays alone. I do attend online tutorials and get involved in the online forums as much as possible but the majority of study is independent. I'll talk more about my experience of the OU in a separate blog soon.
I chose to create a 'study' in my house last year during the UK's lockdown, a space for me to quietly concentrate surrounded by books and of course my fluffy companions who you can see in the picture above. The room was previously a spare bedroom as my boys don't like the idea of being in separate rooms they choose to share a room which left a room with a bed in it unused. We never had visitors stay over pre-pandemic and certainly knew we wouldn't during the pandemic so changing the room into a study seemed like a sensible idea. It turns out to have been a brilliant decision, not only do i love using it as a study space but my boys love to use it as a homework and reading room too. There is just something lovely about having a cosy living room sort of space that has a sofa and chair but no TV to tempt you.
In the study i do have a desk and my main computer, the desk is pretty clear other than the screen, keyboard and mouse. I chose not to over complicate the space as i thought that keeping it clear would help me to concentrate and focus. I did once try using a pin board for notes and having notebooks / lists around the desk, that just tended to distract me. I also have a very special vintage style writing desk that is very important to me because it was my Nannas who sadly passed away in 2018. I lived with my Nanna and the desk was placed at the bottom of her stairs so i passed it everyday, i remember always saying to her how much i loved it and when she passed my dad very kindly let me have it which meant more to me that i think he will ever know. Having the writing desk, and other items from Nanna's house makes me feel close to her and makes my house feel more like a home. I use the writing desk mainly for display at the moment but i intend to use it to write at in the future. Currently i tend to sit on the sofa to write notes then move over to the computer to type them up.
I have in the past sat on the sofa with a laptop too which works well on days that i want to feel more relaxed. Currently i'm writing on my laptop at work, another place that i study and write. I think this is the main issue for me, i get the inspiration to write at odd times through the day and so where i end up writing depends on the day and time of day. I work 6 days a week, Monday to Saturday 9.30am - 2.30pm then collect my children from school, i have a list of household chores to complete before i can think about going to my study to read and write. I do feel though that since having a room specifically for it i am able to shut off from everything else much easier than when i tried to read and write in the living room or the kitchen.
Choosing the right place to study, read and write is a very personal thing, you will likely need to test out a few different spaces within your home before you find the right one for you. Try not to waste too much of your time trying to create the 'perfect' space though as if you are anything like me you'll only end up changing and moving around numerous times.
I know that some people choose to study and write outside of the home too, they find it easier going to cafes and the library. This isn't something i personally enjoy due to my anxieties but there are many people out there who blog about this so if you prefer to study outside of your home you are not alone.
Where ever you choose to study, read and write my top tip would be to turn your phone on silent and put it out of sight so that you are not tempted to keep checking it. If you are time restricted and need to ensure you stop at a certain time set an alarm rather than keep checking the time.