• CCA Pulse Magazine

Ergonomic Allstars | Daniel Yachi

Whether you are studying for AP tests two months early, or you're cramming for another AP Psych test, being productive isn't the easiest thing to do even at home sometimes.

The easy, and probably most obvious, place to start is the desk. Start by clearing the desk of anything that isn't needed. Don't be afraid to discriminate, if you have to debate whether or not something is worth keeping, it's probably best to just take it off your desk. The whole point of this is to limit any unnecessary distractions. Now that the desk is clear, make sure everything that you need for whatever work you do is present. This could look like a sketchbook, a novel, a laptop, an Ipad, etc.. It's also important to choose a good workspace. There are alternatives to desks, but they tend to either be too comfortable or not comfortable enough. Also, what you do at the desk matters. If you work on a desktop but also play video games on it or do some other fun activities, it will be much harder for the brain to focus in a place it associates with much more satisfying tasks.

For little practical things, you don't have to buy a $300 ergonomic mouse or chair, but there is a bare minimum needed. Chairs should be comfortable to the point where sitting in them doesn't cause any discomfort, however, they shouldn't be too comfortable, or else you won’t be able to work. When it comes to mice and headphones, a normal one should do. In general, as long as it causes no discomfort, it is workable in an ergonomic environment. However, anything that provides a remote discomfort or distraction should be removed promptly. Everyone's preferences and causes of distraction are a little different so this will definitely vary from person to person.

Posture is always a major factor in ergonomic environments. Studying hunched over above whatever material you are taking in is not a sustainable way to sit. Instead, by keeping a straight-up posture with your back straight up and neck raised straight up, the least strain is put on the body while working, thus offering the best posture to work in. Sure, anyone would much rather work comfortably laying down in bed, but again, people associate beds with sleep, therefore, putting your brain in a sleep mindset rather than a work mindset or vice versa.

As much as physical aspects of working are important, the actual practices and behaviors of people studying are paramount. Studying with music is great so long as it's not distracting. One of the most important and helpful strategies is to take frequent short breaks between study sessions rather than having one long session of studying as it gives the brain a good amount of time to process the information and not get strained by an overload of constant information. A good study snack will always do the trick. My go-to snack is cantaloupe. Following these steps, anyone can make their home office an ergonomic environment.

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