Make Your Space, Build Your Pace
We live in paradoxical times. It’s the age of technology, of ease and accessibility; yet we’re caught in an abysmal rush hour, there never seems to be time for anything anymore. Even the scarce ‘free’ time we do get is plagued by laziness and privilege, and an impressive rate of zero productivity. The fact of the matter isn’t that we haven’t got time, it’s that we just don’t know how to use it proper. A good reason for this lies in our environment, namely our work space.
In our perpetual race towards happiness, success and whatever it is that people want these days, there is a lot to be said about reforming our ways. Here are a few tips to utilise your space to the max and bring about the best results in your studies, or virtually anything you’re working on.
1. A Quick Tidy-Up
When you’re starting with your studies for the day, set a timer for five minutes and put away your pens, pencils, notebooks and other things in their proper places. If you’re quick, you could even wipe your desk. Wipe that dust away!
A five minute cleanup might seem like it doesn’t mean much; but a clear workspace by extension clears your mind too. It’s sort of like a mental pat on the back, a milestone at the end of the day to tell you that you’ve done a good one. Do it after you’re done studying too, as a closure to your productivity session.
You can do this with other areas too. For example, the kitchen, after you’re done cooking, or bedroom, before you go to sleep.
2. Essentials Only
Before you set to work on something, set all the tools you might need ready on your desk. Anything else that could potentially distract you: out of sight, out of mind. (Ahem, gadgets, ahem.)
On a wider, day-to-day perspective, put away things you don’t usually use (or haven’t used in the past year) in a box to free up room space. Maybe style them on your shelf, or better yet, give them away in charities if suitable. Don’t hoard trinkets in hopes that you might use them someday, remember, a Mu’min is in relation to this world like a traveller.
If you cook, clear out your kitchen; keep all the tools that you don’t use often neatly tucked away in your cabinets. Keep your counters clutter free. In your wardrobe, put all the clothes that are off season in a decent bag and place it on the top most shelf.
Why? These things remove visual clutter, giving your brain more space to process things much faster. Think fast.
Oftentimes, we find ourselves studying or working in poor lighting. We tend to feel sleepy in such places, ergo the impressive zero productivity rate. Open your blinds, tie your curtains and let the sunlight in. The more the natural lighting, the better. Sunlight has a direct positive correlation to a hormone released in your brain called serotonin, which is basically a feel-good hormone. It makes you feel calmer and more focused, which in turn helps you get work done quicker.
Most work spaces these days tend to be congested, with little to no air circulation. This makes our work area humid and might make us feel suffocated. Open your windows or balcony doors, and let the fresh air do it’s magic.
Try adding some plants into your room! They’ll bring some greenery in your space, comforting your eyes and supplying fresh oxygen to refresh your body. There are plenty of low-maintenance house plants out there that could do the trick. Succulents are a popular choice, they require little to no attention, and have no problems just sitting there to look pretty. Other options include the Spider plant, Dracaena, bamboo palms or Boston ferns. Do a little homework of your own, after all it is your investment.
5. Mental Clarity
To keep your mental space organised, jot down a to-do list before you start your day. Storing too many things in your brain will definitely stress you out. Pen down your ideas before you forget them, journal your memories before you lose them!
Practical point: invest in a journal or a planner. Mental clarity aside there’s a satisfaction in documenting your day-to-day activities, to look back at, or just ticking off tasks from your to-do list.If you want to do something, plan it on a piece of paper first. (Sticky notes are a felicity.) This way you don’t have to worry about forgetting your assignments or your appointments. You can be less stressed and make some room for creativity!
Furthermore, when you’re working on a task you greatly dislike, your brain will try and come up with all sorts of very convincing excuses to distract you. Like when you’re writing your submission to the upcoming issue of Rather Quiet (ahem, do excuse the plug), your brain will remind you that you haven’t done your laundry in two weeks, that you were supposed to exercise today, that you’ve been meaning to solve world hunger for the longest time and so forth. Don’t fall for it. It’s your brain’s attempt to distract you from something it perceives as painful, in this case: writing. That’s how you procrastinate.
The solution? Write it down then continue with your task at hand. Shut your brain up and tell it that you’ll think about it later. Power through the reluctance; once you get your hands wet, it’s smooth sailing — it really is.
When all is said and done, your resolve to get things done is what matters the most. You could read all the tips in the world and it would help you for nothing without your own resolution to start. After all it’s just theory waiting to be tested, mere words written to be acknowledged by action. Make the most of your time! Clear your space, get started.
About the Authors
Hiba F is a high school senior who is frequently mistaken for a university professor. She completed her memorization of the Quran at age 14 and has since gotten into studying tafsir and Arabic. She’s a serial bullet journaling bookworm. Her other interests include drawing, embroidery and writing. She aspires for a career as an author, business woman and a naturopath. It’s only impossible till someone does it, you know? Links: Instagram
Jabal Maryam is a first-year university student who excels at procrastination and last minute submissions. Links: Instagram