Making Your Study Space More Ergonomic
The comfort of your study area is crucial. A more ergonomic study area can prevent strains placed on the body and health problems from sitting too long in one place. An ergonomic design can help you study longer, concentrate better, and get more done—without distractions or discomfort. Here are a few tips for making your study area more ergonomic.
Your study chair
Your chair can make a big difference in your comfort while you study. Get a chair that provides cushioning and support for your back from top to bottom, with a slight inward curve for your lower back—or get a small cushion for your lower back. The chair should position you so that you sit directly on your bum instead of slouching on your lower back—so your weight is distributed through the pelvis. Your hip position should maintain the natural curves of your back.
You shouldn’t be hunching forwards and over the table. If you find yourself often slumping over your desk, consider either propping up your computer, notebook or books with a few thick books or use a book stand. You could also get a chair with adjustable height, so it can be lowered. Or, if all else fails, get a desk that stands a little higher.
The right lighting is crucial. Overhead lighting is a good start, but if that’s all you use, the light could be blocked when you read or lean over your desk. Get some task lighting—a small reading lamp will do—and make sure it’s focused on your study area, not on you. Be sure that the light is bright enough—a dim yellow bulb can cause eye strain. Choose bright white light to illuminate your workspace to best effect.
Ideally, you should study in a well-ventilated area with plenty of fresh air. Studying next to a window can be distracting, but it’s good to have a window in the room for fresh air and light. If you don’t have this option, it will help to get up and take frequent walks, outside when the weather allows it. In addition, it’s important that your temperature not be too hot or too cold. Too much heat can make you sleepy as well as being uncomfortable—and cold temperatures can also be very distracting.
Be sure your study area isn’t too cluttered. It’s easy to become distracted by clutter and to use cleanup tasks as an excuse to procrastinate. Before your school semester starts, set up your study area with everything you need within reach—including writing implements, printer supplies, electronic cords and plugs, notebooks, and so on. You may want to consider installing shelving or using carefully labeled shoe boxes or other containers to keep everything organized. A little organization before your study period starts, and you should be able to get more work done during the school year.
It’s easy to strain your wrists if you have a keyboard that isn’t ergonomic. You can also cause neck and back pain. Buy an ergonomic keyboard for your computer—or get a gel wrist pad. This will help you immeasurably in preventing painful neck, back and wrist strain that can really hold up your study progress.
A flickering or glaring computer monitor can damage your vision. You can reduce eye strain by investing in a larger computer monitor—about 17 inches—that offers glare filtering and a flickerless screen. It’s worth the investment, even if you have a laptop—a bad computer screen can give you headaches and even permanently or temporarily damage your vision.
If you’re enrolled in college, chances are you have some marathon study sessions ahead. Reduce the strains and demands placed on your body by long study sessions—and learn more in less time—by eliminating distractions, eye strains, and potential pain points for your back, neck, wrists, and other parts of your body. With a comfortable chair and desk that support your back and help you maintain the correct posture, a non-flickering computer screen and adequate lighting, and an ergonomic keyboard, you should have all the basics in place for a healthy, productive and comfortable study area.
Cornell University: Ergonomic Guidelines for Arranging a Computer Workstation: 10 Tips for Users
LifeHacker: Top 10 Ergonomic Upgrades for Your Workspace
United States Department of Labor: OSHA Economic Solutions
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