How to Create an Organized Study Zone

3 min read
organize your exams

organize your exams

For middle school and high school students with ADHD, developing and maintaining a study routine can be one of the biggest barriers to success at school. While it’s challenging on many different levels, learning how to study with ADHD can help kids perform better, learn more, and feel comfortable in the classroom.

To help accomplish this, many experts recommend creating a dedicated study zone where children with ADHD can focus on studying without overstimulating distractions or understimulating plainness

Why Students With ADHD Need a Well-Organized Study Space

Life is full of distractions, and they only become harder to deal with when executive dysfunction is thrown into the mix. The ideal study zone is a place where students can remove these distractions and feel well-equipped to focus on their work. By creating a comfortable and reliable study space at home, pre-teens and teens with ADHD can better manage their time, elevate their learning, and improve their confidence in and enjoyment of school. 

How to Create an ADHD-Friendly Study Space at Home

1. Choose a Comfortable Location

Perhaps the most important characteristic of a study zone is that the student should feel comfortable. This means paying attention to all the small factors, including temperature, noise, and other potential environmental distractions.

It’s best to choose a room that doesn’t have other strong associations that could interfere with a student’s focus. For example, setting up a study zone on their bed or on the couch in the living room might not work well since those areas already have purposes other than studying. Instead, you’ll want to choose a neutral space, like a desk or dining room table, where studying can be the primary focus.

2. Pay Attention to Color and Lighting

It can be easy to overlook the impact seemingly small environmental factors—like color and lighting—can have on a space, but these attributes may have a big impact on a student with ADHD.

Lighting should be bright enough that it’s easy to read textbooks and computer screens since struggling with glares and shadows can be distracting. A lamp with adjustable light intensity and color temperature can help here.

Likewise, some colors in the room can affect a student differently. Bright reds and yellows can be overstimulating and lead to increased blood pressure and anxiety. On the other hand, dull surroundings, like all white walls, can be understimulating and lead to agitation and lack of focus. Soft neutral colors, including muted blues and greens, are good choices for creating a relaxed environment that encourages focus.

3. Allow for Flexibility

Students in middle school and high school often have a variety of different subjects to study each day, along with hobbies and extracurricular activities they want to pursue. It’s best to create a study zone that can accommodate multiple modes of study and work to help support all these different activities.

Your student should feel like they can write a paper in their study spot just as easily as they could work on an art project or read their geography book. This means offering space, storage, and an array of supplies. 

4. Give Everything a Place

When a study zone needs to accommodate many activities, there’s a lot of room for potential distractions. You can minimize this risk by making sure everything has a proper place when it’s not in use. Having a clearly labeled organizational system helps students find what they need without diverting a significant amount of time and energy from doing homework and studying.

Create a filing system for homework assignments that organizes papers by class and makes it easy to track when things need to be handed in. Color coding by class can help, especially if the color designations are consistent with the colors of each class’s notebook. The code can also extend to a calendar, whether it’s paper or digital.

Extra supplies—like paper, pens and pencils, printer ink, and art materials— should also have a dedicated storage space at home. Rolling carts with bins or baskets on a bookcase or closet shelf allow for organization while keeping these items accessible.

Maintaining Your Study Zone

Setting up a study zone is only the first step. It will need regular maintenance to keep it neat and functional. Clutter and disorganization can distract kids from their work or remind them of other tasks outside the one they’re working on. Or they can end up spending time digging through the mess to find the supplies they need.

Encourage your child to end each study session by putting away everything they’re finished using. Once a week, plan to go through all the papers and supplies to get rid of anything they no longer need and make sure everything else is put away. Not only do these tips leave them with a workspace, but they also build an association with cleaning and studying—and this can help lay the foundation for an effective study routine.

Casey Schmalacker

Casey Schmalacker, Vice President at New Frontiers, is a seasoned leader in marketing, sales, and business development. With a dual degree in Government and Law and Economics from Lafayette College, he has spent the past 10 years coaching students, adults, and organizations to improve executive functions, soft skills, and workplace performance. Casey’s approach is rooted in strategic development and a passion for personalized coaching, emphasizing a culture of continuous improvement.

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