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August 26, 2015Posted in: Service Users & Volunteers Tagged:

How-to Create a Distraction-free Work or Study Space

shutterstock_281347463These days, thousands of Canadian do at least some, if not all, of their work from home. With September coming up fast, many young people will soon join them by doing their homework or studying at home too. We at Tourette Canada understand that it can be hard to be productive at home where we are surrounded by seemingly endless distractions and comforts- Netflicks, Pintrest, TV, Cell Phones, Snap Chat, Instagram, to name a few. Having Tourette, ADHD or many other conditions can compound these challenges.

In this blog post, we’ll tell you our tips for setting up a productive, distraction free work space for you or your child. Creating a special space for studying or work will set you and your family up for academic and professional success in the fall. Get your space set up now before school starts and life gets busy!


  1. Bad interior décor is good! You may be tempted to create a heavily decorated, brightly-coloured space for yourself or your child. Consider however that these items can make for too much distraction and a crowded mind. Try setting up a plain space that has very little decorations. Do not put up a lot of pictures, posters or art on the walls. Paint the room white or grey. Be sparing with plants or other objects. Save your decorating skills for another room in the home. This will help minimize distractions in your space.


  1. Bye-bye books! Many people set up a study or work space with a book shelf and put all sorts of books and trinkets on it. This too can be distracting. Consider removing books from the space including that busy shelf. It will help to create a sense of calm, order, and cleanliness.


  1. Noise-reduction A quiet space is best, if possible. There are many ways to make the space quiet including investing in a good set of noise reduction or noise cancelling headphones. You can even get headphones that produce white noise for added concentration assistance.


  1. Dedicated space It isn’t always possible but if you can, set up a study or work area that is dedicated to those tasks. This customized space will help you get down to business more efficiently. Add a plain desk, light, and a drawer with supplies. Do not overly decorate the space as previously mentioned in point one.


  1. Schedule set study or work hours Book time for yourself to study or work. Time slots should not be too long. With an end in sight, the time you spend studying or working will be much easier to take and much more productive. Make sure you give yourself and any children lots of breaks!


  1. Visual timer Forget that boring old clock. For people with conditions like Tourette, ADHD and learning challenges, use a visual timer. This type of time gives visual cues of how much time has passed and how much time is left. Set it and you can see your progress and work on time management too!


  1. Internet and phone are not your friends! When doing homework, studying or paid work at home, remember to temporarily un-friend your phone and if you can, disable your internet. Have someone else in the house be in charge of the in-case-of-emergency calls. This will help you focus better whether you are age 4 or 44.


  1. No clutter This means having things in drawers not in open shelves or on top of the desk! Don’t have too much stuff either. A lot of stuff, even if it is neatly organized, can start to feel like clutter.


  1. Assistive tech There are lot of supplies out there that are designed to help adults and children with exceptional needs do their best work/studying. These include everything from a pad for your chair that allows you to wiggle, to a special pencil topper that you can chew without damaging the pencil itself. Don’t forget to build-in accommodations for tics. For example, have a designated cup on the desk for spitting tics. You can also add a small stress ball for sensory stimulation. Find a balance between objects that are needed and objects that just distract from the task at hand.


  1. Sit, stand, or hand-stand There is a reason that sit-stand or stand work stations are becoming popular in Canada. We often do our best work when we’re sitting, but sometimes we may need to stand, sit on a bean bag chair, kneel, rock back and forth etc. Build the study space to allow for some or all of these options.


We hope you found these tips helpful.


What kind of study space do you have?

What helps you avoid distraction?

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