Episode 9 – Home Study Environment

Welcome back to another episode of the BrainTree Podcast! This week we’re looking at home study environments, the good, the bad and the ugly!

Prue opens the episode with a quote from Nelson Mandela about the power of education. The hosts start the discussion by talking about the pros and cons of a designated study environment. Having a designated study zone puts your brain in a study mindset, but both Prue and Rocky admit to not always being able to focus in a single study environment, which is fine, so long as you avoid distractions.

Distractions are a hot topic of debate as Prue raises the impact of music and memory. Music can help you learn or it can hinder learning depending on the music you’re listening to. So Metallica is out, but Mozart is in for study. And no, The BeeGees are not baroque music. Music is ok if you’re doing mindless work, but not if you’re trying to learn.

Home Study Environment

Prue moves on to ergonomics. It’s a tough set of rules, but it will help you learn. You need a chair that’s comfortable, but not so much that you fall asleep. You need your legs at 90° to the floor and your feet flat on the floor, even if you need a phonebook under your toes.

Prue warns against poor ergonomics when using a laptop, ideally you need the screen to be at eye level and your elbows to be 90° to the keyboard, using a laptop can work against this and make your study uncomfortable, but Rocky recommends a few products to help your laptop become a desk computer. The hosts discuss a few examples of times they’ve done this. Including this one from Prue of what NOT to do (see below).

An example of a BAD study environment

The  next point, it seems obvious, but you need fresh air in your study environment. A nice cool breeze from an open window will be better for your brain than a warm, stuffy room. The hosts tout the benefits of having all your materials organised nearby so you don’t need to switch spaces to get a certain book or tool. Once you’ve collected everything, make sure they’re tidy! A pile of books on your desk is just as distracting as having to leave to get more books. Rocky admits to being guilty of not following this tip, but he tidies his desk and takes it from this


to this



Rocky gives us a quote from a teacher he used to work with who said “My desk resembles the state of my mind” –  both Prue and Rocky sing the praises of a clean and tidy desk. Prue also goes on to talk about a wall planner, a whiteboard or a noticeboard near your desk to keep to-do lists and other important notes nearby.

The hosts move on to the final topic of the effect of colour on your study. Prue talks about a theory and a colour personality test by Max Luscher. So the hosts suggest using a red folder for urgent assignments and studying in a blue room to create calm. Even just having something blue in sight helps. Prue also mentions that green is soothing and it’s good to focus on green before exams and orange is a great colour to stimulate communication.

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