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Three Overlooked Steps in Creating a Winning Workspace

We are big organization people, here at Staying Ahead of the Game. From binders to backpacks, calendars to planners, and everything in between, we understand the critical role organization plays in a student’s success. Combining top-notch organizational skills with time management, study skills, and impression management helps any student thrive.

We have discussed our full-proof binder system in the past, along with other organization topics. However, today we want to take a deeper dive into the engineering behind a winning workspace. Creating a winning workspace is about much more than a desk and a chair. Lighting, noise levels, access to supplies, and more all constitute the success pathways that we hold so dear. The right environment helps students start working and stay working until they reach their goals, and that’s what we care about the most.

Let’s get down to brass tacks. There are a few general principles to creating a study space that every student should follow:

  1. A workspace should be well-lit, preferably with natural light. Students can stay alert and focused in this type of space. Plus, save the strain from your eyes. You won’t get extra points on the reading quiz because you chose to crank through a few chapters in a cave. Turn the lights on, please.
  2. The sights and sounds of the study area should be tailored to the student. Some students thrive in complete silence, while others work best with a bit of background noise. In a perfect world, the student should have a moderately quiet area with noise-canceling headphones as a backup option.
  3. Students should have everything they need within reach. Printers, paper, pencils, pens, calculators, hole-punchers, and the like should not require a trip upstairs or down the hallway. These “supply runs” are procrastination and distraction trap doors. A student leaves to find a pencil, starts watching the Astros game with his brother, and forgets about the math assignment on his desk until the next morning. Stock up on supplies and say no to the trap door.

Following the three principles above will help your student succeed. The better the environment, the easier it is for a student to reach his or her studying potential. But what if your student already has this kind of study space? Can they improve it even more, super-charing the productivity of the workspace?

Absolutely! Here are a few advanced tips to help your student create a winning workspace:

Nix the Notifications

Cell phones and laptops are incredible productivity rules… sometimes. They can also be what we fondly refer to as “weapons of mass distractions.” The danger of always-on is in large part due to notifications. Years of technological development have made the modern phone irresistible. It pings, it rings, it vibrates, it flashes, delivering dopamine hits with every text, snap, and whatever they call it nowadays. The history textbook simply cannot compete with the notifications. So, turn them off, all of them! Better yet, put the phone in another room to avoid the infamous phantom notification.

Limit Live Distractions

The phone, the computer, and the TV, while alluring, are inanimate. They can follow you around when you don’t give them attention. Pets and siblings, on the other hand, are distractions on the move. Many an English essay have been overpowered by the playful paw of a puppy, the nuzzling head of a cat, or a galumphing toddler. Don’t fight this battle; just close the door.

Don’t Forget Inspiration

Some students choose to work in a dungeon, and I cannot understand why. Motivating oneself to write the next page or read the next chapter is difficult, but it is nearly impossible without some fresh air, a plant or two, and some color on the walls. Students who create workspaces they actually enjoy sitting in have the upper hand. Again, there are no bonus points on the vocab quiz for studying in a windowless room. It all counts the same, so at least make it enjoyable.

At SAOTG, we strive to help students master the pillars of executive function and reach their potential inside and outside of the classroom. To learn more about executive function and how it can help your child, please read our other resources or reach out today to sign your child up for one-on-one academic coaching and tutoring.

Evan Weinberger


Staying Ahead of the Game offers unique academic coaching & tutoring services to help good students achieve greatness.

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