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Studying productively off-campus is possible with these tips

There are a number of tricks to successfully study at home when midterms make finding a quiet study spot on campus challenging. Credit: Sheridan Hendrix | Oller reporter

The semester just started, but it feels like midterms are already upon us. While you can test your luck finding a study spot in Thompson or an open table at Starbucks, your best bet might be posting up at home. Whether you live in the dorms alone or off-campus with a million roommates, here are some tips to study productively at home.

Find your zone

Studying at home can quickly turn into studying in bed. While it’s good to be comfortable, it makes it that much easier to go from studying hard to snoozing early. The best solution is to find a space at home that is conducive for getting work done. Whether that be setting up a desk, finding a spot on the couch or sitting on the floor of your bedroom, anywhere you can buckle down is where you will get your best work done.

Eliminate all distractions

Something about being at home can make it easy to ignore obligations and just relax. Who really needs to study right now when you’re only three episodes away from finishing that last show on Netflix? Do yourself a favor and turn it off. Eat before you sit down to study so you aren’t tempted to get up for snacks every half hour. Turn your phone on Do Not Disturb mode.

Try using a tool on your laptop that will block out online distractions for you. StayFocused is a free Chrome extension that lets you customize which websites you are allowed to visit and which ones are off limit. You can even set a total time limit and what days and times you’re allowed to visit certain sites.

Don’t be afraid to say “go away”

We get it, your roommates are great. But it can be really hard to study when your roommate keeps yapping away about how cold it is outside and how cute her TA is. As much as you might care, studying needs your attention right now. There’s nothing wrong with kindly telling someone that you’d love to hear about Steve from Spanish later, but right now you have work to do.

Pro tip: Put on a pair of headphones, even if you aren’t listening to music. People are less likely to bother you if you look busy.

Give yourself a break

Cramming last minute or pulling an all-nighter? Good luck. Experts suggest taking a 5-10 minute study break after every hour that you study. That’s just enough time to take a quick walk, go to the bathroom and brew another pot of coffee. Go get ‘em, tiger!

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