Finding That Productive Study Environment

by on August 20, 2008

Another semester is approching quickly, and that means it won’t be long before books will have to be read, papers written, and tests will have to be taken. If you are like me, you cannot just study anytime, anywhere. You need the atmosphere and the environment to be right. To be sure, every environment will not work for everyone. You need to find your own. But it is important that you do, because that is key to being productive. And if you’re one of those who can study anywhere, anytime, you are lucky and I am jealous of you. Nonetheless, here is what I need.

First, I don’t work well in silence. I need music. But not just any music. I can’t study with Van Halen crankin’ in the background. Classical music is my choice for studying. I have quite a bit of classical on my iPod, but it got to the point where I had heard the same stuff over and over again and I would begin to notice that. So after some searching, I finally came across Radio Swiss Classic, which is a radio station broadcasting from Bern, Switzerland with an internet stream available for free. The station is fantastic. It plays a great variety of stuff, and only occasionally has a brief verbal interjection to mention the title and composer of a piece (in German and French). I highly recommend it to you. Set the volume low, and let it play all day.

Second, location is important to me. When I still lived in Ontario, I had a very specific spot in the Mills Library at McMaster University that I loved to be at. I also liked the library at Redeemer University College, where I got my degree from. But I do not like the library at here at RTS at all. I find it far too small and confining. One of the best places I work here is at the local Panera Bread. It’s relatively comfortable, plays classical music, and has free refills on their coffee.

Finally, I work much better on a cloudy, rainy, and cool day. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen much in Florida, and I can’t control the weather.

But the point of this post is not to tell you what I need. It’s to encourage you to find an environment where you study well. This is important because seminary comes with a lot of work, and you need to be able to put yourself in a situation where you can work, concentrate, and be productive. Find the place that works for you, and find it soon. If you have already got something that works well for you, let us know. What are your ideal study environments?

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I’d say that my ideal study environment is one where I don’t have to worry about my kids interrupting me. I tend to prefer quiet, though I can listen to light classical if I need to drown out noise. I’m fairly flexible. I do a lot of reading at work during lunchtime when the cube farm is quiet. I also do a lot of my work in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed.

Basically, with 2 kids I find that I have to be ready to work when the opportunity presents itself. If you look at the timestamp for this comment you can see another one of my tricks — do things in the very early morning before anyone else is up (Mark 1:35).

Jasons last blog post..Return of the King

I can’t study in silence either but Panera makes me crazy. The perpetual bagel slicing is enough to drive anyone to the bottle. My best papers were written at the corner table in Starbucks with Coldplay pumping in my ears.

Karins last blog post..a dark day