One of the many benefits of attending an online university is the convenience of studying at home. Without the need to show up for classes at a specific time and location, you have the freedom to study when, where, and how you like. But before putting on your pajamas and setting up shop on the sofa, consider the following three important reasons to set up a separate workspace in your home.
- Limited distractions. Your living room, kitchen and bedroom are laden with people and things to distract you from your study time. While an online university is convenient, it’s up to you to manage your time. Try using an extra room as a home office. If you can’t spare the space, put a desk in the corner of another room. The key is putting a door between you and the noise. Clear away magazines, books, and other materials from your desk to make sure you focus on your online degree and nothing else.
- Effective studying. For most people, working well is accompanied by the right state of mind. If you choose to lounge and study on your sofa, you will probably be less likely to retain the information you study. This wastes both time and effort. Equate your home office with your regular office; you are there to get things done. Avoid using your workspace at home for things outside of studying. Creating a mindset of focus and learning in one area of your home will help you leave other areas of focus behind. And while your workspace should keep you alert, that doesn’t mean you can’t enhance your environment in a positive way. Hang a bulletin board outlining your schedule and assignments. Invest in a comfortable office chair and desk lamp. By surrounding yourself with work-related items, you will be more likely to use your space efficiently.
- Established boundaries. If you have kids and other people in the house, it can be a challenge to get a moment to yourself to work toward your online degree. Oftentimes, it isn’t enough to simply say, “Please give me a few minutes to study.” This is why establishing boundaries are important for others as well as yourself. Explain to your family that your workspace is yours and should not be used for any other purpose—at least until you have earned your online degree. Hang a sign on the door to alert your kids when you are in study mode and encourage them to only interrupt you if it’s important. Your kids will learn to respect your study time more quickly if you are consistently working in the same location.
Earning a degree from an online university can be difficult to integrate into your home life, but a designated workspace will make it easier. Set up a temporary office for yourself and use it to your advantage. You will find your time is more valuable in your own space.