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Your Work Space: Terrific or Toxic?

Your Work Space: Terrific or Toxic?

You might not pay much heed to your thesis studying environment. A desk. A laptop / computer. A chair. That’s all you need, right?


One of the first areas I believe you should pay attention to when embarking on the thesis writing component of your degree is your study space. After all, it’s the starting block of this marathon you are running.

Your physical environment needs to be conducive to thinking and writing.

Your thesis writing work space should motivate you to take action and get things done.

Author Roald Dahl had a strict daily writing routine, but what is most interesting is the workspace he created for himself. He physically removed himself from his home and took refuge to a small garden shed at the back of his property which he called his writing hut. It was a tiny room with little more than an armchair  and a tray table – but this is where he could allow his imagination free reign and write the most amazing stories.

Roald Dahl understood the value of the work space.

Does your study space serve you? Here’s a quick checklist to test if your study space is ideal for thesis work.

  • It’s not cluttered.
  • It’s IT solid (stable internet connection, enough plugs, screens, necessary software)
  • You’re comfortable at your desk.
  • There’s enough natural light by day and good lighting at night.
  • Noise levels are controlled (separate room or noise cancelling headphones)
  • You actually like your space. There are pictures and things around you that make you happy.

Tech Tools

While you might not be able to afford the latest tools and gadgets out there, it is important that you equip yourself the essential tools you need to tackle the thesis writing component of your degree. This means having computer hardware and software to get the job done. Saving money which ends up costing you time and frustration in the coming months will not be worth it.

Tangible Inspiration

Your work space should a place that inspires you to be productive. In practical terms this means taking stock of what’s around you. Remove items that you don’t like. Hate that stag head mounted on the wall? Take it down! Adding a splash of greenery in the form of a plant is a good idea. This is also a good place for a vision board or quotes that inspire you. I like the idea of a scented candle. But whatever resonates with you – go with that.

Digital Distractions

Ah, this is the real nitty gritty, isn’t it? The dreaded ‘D’ word.

Put your phone away. And no, turning it face down next to you does not count.

This means out of  your line of sight and on silent. Close all tabs in your browser except the ones you need, especially social media. I can recommend making use of apps that will pause your mailbox for a couple of hours so that nothing can distract you.

An app called RescueTime will actually log how much time you spend on various sites. Five minutes here, and ten minutes adds up and eats away at valuable thesis writing time.Believe me, two hours of solid work is a lot and you’ll be shocked to discover how often we default to opening tabs / emails while we work. You can pause your gmail inbox by installing Boomerang.

There are many apps out there that could help you stay focused by blocking websites that might distract you. StayFocused is a chrome extension that restricts time of websites that you nominate, and when you exceed the time limit you set, the site gets blocked. FocusWriter is another popular tool to limit distractions by blocking out everything on your screen except what you are writing.

I hope that you will take this crucial step: crafting your optimal studying environment  today so that you can feel ready to roll up sleeves and get stuck in. Bum in chair. And write!

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