It can be tough to find a corner of the world where you can concentrate. No matter where you go, there’s distraction and noise and uncomfortable chairs, and it’s just not fair. You’re doing your best!
And even if you find the perfect cafe table with free wifi and a power point for your laptop charger, it’s gone the next day, or the cafe is closed. It’s enough to make you chuck a tantrum, like when Rory Gilmore’s perfect, back-supporting study tree was discovered by someone else.
But you don’t have to wait for a magical tree to grow in just the right spot. Whether you need to pad out your resume, catch up on coursework, or smash out a few hours on your side hustle, here are some ways you can find or create your own space to work.
White noise, rain sounds, or that one 24/7 YouTube beats channel: pumping something straight into your ears with a pair of these will help you work in your own little world.
They don’t have to be top of the line – even a reasonably affordable pair will help shut out the buzz. And it’s not rude to have them on if you’re in a cafe! Just order a drink or snack about every two hours and the staff will be fine to leave you alone with the free wi-fi.
A fold-down desk
No space for a big mahogany desk in your sharehouse or tiny studio, so no workspace for you, right? Au contraire, mon frere. There are plenty of fold-away options to take the lap out of laptop and the crick out of your neck. IKEA have everything from the classic Norberg drop-leaf table which attaches to the wall and works as a little shelf when it’s not in full fold-out mode, fold-away regular desks and dirt-cheap laptop supports that fix the angle when you’re T-rexing in bed.
Or, if you like, try this full-size shelf that flips into a full-size table – great for when you really need to spread out.
The public library
Hey, remember these? They’re free, quiet, almost always Wi-Fi enabled, and you don’t have to buy loads of coffee to stay there for hours.
Not only that, but many of them are old, beautiful spaces filled with light and/or studious atmosphere. It’ll take you back to when you were a book-mad kid full of potential.
A hotel lobby
You’d be surprised how long you can hang out on the couches or at the tables. Wear a blazer over your ratty Gang Of Youths t-shirt and look businesslike, and the bored front desk person will probably assume you’re a Business Person.
A mate’s place
Does your friend have a great kitchen bench or a living room flooded with natural light? It’s amazing how just a change of scene can help you refocus your energy.
Ask them if you can spread out on their dining table during the day while they’re at work – you can even offer to walk their dog, hang out their laundry or let in a tradie in exchange.
Clean your damn room
This one has a double benefit. If you love to procrastinate by deciding you’re going to vacuum, Marie Kondo your makeup, or reorganise your shelves, this can actually be really productive when it comes to the work you’re supposed to be doing.
Make a day of it – go buy a house plant or a fresh new bedspread, rearrange your clothes rack by colour, or dump a bunch of clutter off at Vinnies – anything to make your space feel fresh. Then settle in for some hustle.
(You can check out some Insta inspiration via the #SOLStudySpace hashtag, where Swinburne Online students are sharing their concentration spots.)
Hell, even in the tiniest room, you can create a makeshift workspace on the bed with a clean wooden chopping board from the kitchen and a couple of extra cushions to support your posture.
And if your space feels fresh and clear, you might just find your mind is too.
Swinburne Online provides a new approach to learning in Australia, where the classroom comes to you – whether you’re in the library or in a tree. (Don’t actually study in a tree. It’s very dangerous.)
With an interactive learning format, coupled with the flexibility of online study and 7-day support, Swinburne Online gives students all the best features of an on-campus degree in a digital environment.