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Friday, January 23, 2009

A new study set-up

My old study-setup

I'm very much an advocate of taking action to change one's surroundings should they not be conducive to feeling at ease. For example, a friend of mine has been having issues at work involving smoke from an adjoining (smoking) room filling her office, but rather than just complain about it she went out and bought some plastic sheets and a couple of heaters, in order to seal the gap between above the partition wall and deal with the resulting lack of hot air that was blow through by the air conditioner. She is now going to be happier in the short term, and live longer too.

My new getting-up-at-6am routine is going really well - I love it, and manage to get a tonne of stuff done in the 90 minutes extra that I have each day. Studying Japanese is the main activity. This involves me going through my electronic dictionary's history to review words I'd looked up the previous day, and transferring them to Anki and paper flash cards (sometimes an iPhone interface is just too distracting). I've also got a couple of text books to work through, oh, and I've restarted my Japanese blog.

It's appalling how much I've forgotten since I stopped studying, so the entries you'll find on there are more reminiscent of the stuff I was writing at the end of my first year at uni than what you might expect from a graduate. I'm not embarrassed about this. I know I can do better, and I know that given frequent practice I will do better.

I've decided to use my photos as the theme, writing about where / why they were taken. Simple, yet very personal to me. I like that.

It also prevents me from using the excuse that "I have nothing to write about".

Another thing I've done to encourage study is buy myself a proper desk. The Japanese-style coffee table was doing my knees / legs no good at all, and left me in quite a bit of pain if I sat there too long. Thus, I popped down to the local department store and bought a fairly cheap table, and two metres of cloth for a table cloth. I love it!

The storage shelf thing that was in this room has been moved next door, although the two sets of stationary drawers remain close at hand under the two tables.

I've also decided to stop using my MacBook as a laptop at home. By plugging in an external monitor and keyboard it's possible to use Mac laptops when they're closed - I keep it under the desk out of the way.

There are a few reasons I've done this:
  1. It gives me more space on the desk for study materials;
  2. I don't have to look at all the trailing wires emerging from my Macbook;
  3. My mind associates this monitor / keyboard with study / 'work' and not all the stuff I associate my Macbook with.

It really makes a big difference. I'm far more productive now I have a space designed for what I need to do. Kind of no-brainer really.

Anyway, it's bath-time now, then muesli, then off to the office to continue work on the new website for students. I'm using Joomla in order to ensure that the site can be updated for many years to come by people other than myself. As with Wordpress, I am staggered by the improvements Joomla has seen in recent years. A world away from the thing I dabbled with a while back!

Have a productive day!

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Anonymous Amelia said...

That's interesting - I much prefer sitting on the floor or on a bed to study, being able to change position when I like and spread books and papers around me. I can actually keep things in better order that way. I had to sit at a desk to write my essay before Christmas, my back was more or less dead by the end of it and it felt like I had nowhere to put anything. I don't think I'd realised just how individual such a basic thing is until reading your post!

23/1/09 18:25  
Blogger Orchid64 said...

Considering how long your legs are, I can see where your legs would cramp sitting on the floor. I also can't deal with living life on the ground (hence all the Western-style furniture in our place).

I definitely think a good set-up improves productivity. That goes for every room. It's easier to cook if you have the right counter space and all of your materials are at hand, and it's easier to study if you're comfortable and can access things you need.

I can't help but think a new chair is in your future though. ;-)

Thanks for the pictures! My furniture fetish has been momentarily sated.

23/1/09 21:15  
Blogger Joseph said...

Thanks Amelia. I think it also partly depends on what work you're doing. I don't need a lot of space for papers as all my stuff is on the computer. But when at uni I did used to cover by bed in paper and study there! I might even have done the same here ...if we had a bed!

Orchid64: happy to oblige!

25/1/09 23:46  

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