Study Tip: Get Comfortable

The relationship between comfort and productivity has been explored in numerous studies. Factors such as chair design, workspace layout and temperature are proven to have a direct impact on focus and quality of work. So, it’s important to tick all the boxes if you want to maximise your chances of study success. Here’s how…


Choose a comfortable chair that promotes good posture:


Because you spend the majority of your study time sitting down, it’s important you find a chair that is comfortable and promotes good posture; an aching back, or fidgety legs, caused by a badly designed chair are likely to make concentrating much more challenging.


If possible, you should choose a chair which has an adjustable height so that you avoid slouching, a comfortable material and lower-back support. Just like a chair which is the wrong height, lack of lumbar (or lower-back) support can lead to a flattening of the natural inward curve in the lower back, which can contribute to long-term pain.


If you can’t afford to invest in an ergonomic chair, then just use cushions to adjust your height and to provide the support you need for your lower-back…


As a marker: your back and wrists should be straight, while your thighs should be parallel to the floor.


Work in a tidy, flexible and colourful environment:


If you still get fidgety even after finding a comfortable chair, then you should definitely consider studying standing-up. Working at a desk where you can stay vertical is proven to boost focus and productivity by an average of 10%:


“I don’t get the 3 o’clock slump anymore,” said Greg Hoy, whose employer, Facebook, recently introduced stand-up desks. “I feel active all day long.”


Researchers also argue that using multiple screens boosts productivity and concentration levels; a study from Microsoft revealed that staff members who worked with two or more computer screens improved their productivity by up to 50%.


While this won’t be of much use while you’re revising and taking notes, it could help during research periods; if you don’t have two computer screens then try visiting the library with your laptop, or using a tablet.


Brightening up your work environment is also an innovative way to stimulate the mind. ‘The Color Affect System’, which was developed by psychologist Angela Wright, provides evidence to suggest that working around bright blues and yellows boosts creativity, while working among green tones helps to create a calming balance.


And, finally, save yourself time by de-cluttering your workspace; both literally and virtually, too, by tidying your computer files.


Set the temperature right:


And it’s not just physical space that plays a big part in productivity; temperature does too.


A study by researchers at Cornell University found that when temperatures dropped from a warm, comfortable 77 degrees, to a colder 68 degrees, typing mistakes in participants increased by 74% and typing output dropped by 46%.


So, to improve your chances of study success, try tweaking your chair, workspace and temperature to find a combination that boosts your focus and productivity and improves the quality of your work.


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