One of the perks of pursuing your degree through an online program is being able to study whenever and wherever you want. Just because it is called “homework,” does not mean that is where it has to be done. Completing assignments and studying has never been more portable than it is today.
Let’s be honest, distractions like Netflix and Hulu, or rambunctious pets, roommates, or children (sometimes one in the same) all dwell within your home. While these are fine for days off, they can equal a recipe for procrastination.
Where you study greatly affects your concentration. That makes finding the right location key to extracting the most out of your valuable time. Since you wont be in your home, it is important to be prepared before you venture off to explore new study spaces. Compare your loot to this checklist, before you leave the house, to guarantee your productivity.
In your bag or backpack, you should have:
- Laptop or Tablet
- Charging Cables
- Filled Water Bottle
- Small Snacks (if you are not going to someplace that has food readily available)
- Any Physical Textbooks
- *Notebooks or Lined Paper
- *Pens and Pencils
*If you prefer to take notes on your laptop or tablet, then you can go ahead and skip these items.
Now that you are fully prepared, it is essential to discover what type of environment is best for you. In your home, noise captures more of your attention than it does elsewhere. Background noise can still be a huge distraction for some, and a welcome ambiance for others. These locations are organized from loudest to most quiet, and include a description as to why they make for a great study space.
- Coffee Shops – Most coffee shops have free WiFi, not to mention all the caffeine in the world to get you through those longer assignments. With blenders buzzing and people chatting, headphones are a great asset for staying task-oriented when the background noise is overwhelming.
- Transportation – As long as you are the passenger, tackling homework in a car, train, bus, boat, or plane, is both an efficient use of your time and effective space to work on those assignments.
- The Gym – If you choose to study here, tailor the contents of your backpack to working out. The gym is really the best for a book or your tablet to catch up on reading. While it may not be the first place you think of when you need to study, you will feel like a multitasking mogul as you combine reading with running.
- The Breakroom – Chances are, you chose an online program because you are also a member of the workforce. While studying may not be how you wanted to spend your lunch break, you will be glad you did when you can spend more time with your family and friends later.
- Parks – When the weather is nice, the park is a superb place to study. Even if you do not have a personal WiFi hotspot, many parks now provide free WiFi. Just go online to your local or state park district website for a list of WiFi-ready areas.
- Beaches – As another great outdoor space similar to parks, beaches with free WiFi are becoming more readily available. Stay farther back on the beach to keep your work and technology dry.
- Rooftops – Here you can study outdoors, and have the added bonus of being near those coveted outlets. If you do not have access to your own rooftop (or it is unsafe for studying), look around your neighborhood for a public one. You may be surprised how many restaurants and coffee shops have available rooftop seating.
- A Friend’s House – It sounds strange, but sometimes simply getting away from the familiarity (a.k.a. your comfy couch) is all you need to stay focused on your homework. Plus you and your friend can hold each other accountable to stay on task, even if you are not studying the same material.
- Bookstores – Bookstores are not too loud and not too quiet, making them the proverbial Goldilocks of study spots.
- Libraries – The tried and true, classic study spot. Libraries are clean, quiet, and most of them also offer free WiFi. Not to mention the extra research material all around you for when you have to write those lengthy papers.
If you have any lingering doubts as to whether a specific location is worthy or not of your study time, ask yourself these questions:
- Is it in a safe/convenient area?
- How late are they open?
- How many outlets are there?
- Do they have free WiFi?
- Are their prices reasonable (for food, coffee, etc.)?
Online learning gives you complete control over your success. When your house hinders your homework, any of these study spaces can put you back on track. It is all about location, location, location.