Organize, Please… Desk while studying

Midterm season is enough to make me lose my mind.  The exams are just as demanding as final exams… only worse.  Instead of having days off to study, we still have classes going on.  The schedule is all over the place (i.e. nothing for two weeks and then a test/paper due in every class on the same day).  And we don’t even have the extra motivation of being done with classes afterwards… it’s right back to class to learn more material.
Thankfully, this is my last “midterm season.”  This week in particular is quite stressful for me academically.  On top of that, I feel like it’s also stressful in terms of College Prep meetings and phone calls.  I’m counting down the days minutes seconds until I fly home for spring break Thursday night.
One thing that ends up causing me stress, but shouldn’t is how my desk is situated while I study.  I normally would head to the library or the business school to get work done, but since I have a single my room is really quiet and I can get a lot done.  (Without, I may add, having to lug my heavy textbooks to and from.)
Here’s the layout:

1) Laptop.  Pretty standard ops here.  I have all my word documents open and any PowerPoints that I want to refer to.  I suggest closing out (or blocking) any extraneous websites, like Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook.  I keep gmail open for the most part, but turn off gchat.  I like to download documents or PPT decks one at a time so I don’t get overwhelmed.
2) Glasses.  I keep both within reach.  I tend to switch between pairs for some reason while I’m studying.  Maybe it’s a boredom thing, but every other chapter I’ll switch it up 😉
3) iPad.  I either have cases open or PDFs for study materials.  I also use it to play Pandora stations.  (My Pandora One subscription ran out a month or so ago… but commercials don’t play on the iPad… only the computer…. neat little trick to get around that red tape!)  I really like the Stephan Moccio station for studying.
4) Plant.  My mom sent me this baby succulent and it keeps me company.  While it’s not necessary, it does make my desk seem a bit more lively.  I like it has a personality.  Maybe it needs a name… suggestions?
5) Swedish Fish.  Any candy (I don’t suggest chocolate though) will do.  The candy has similar effects as caffeine.  Read: Don’t go overboard or you’ll experience a “crash.”  I pull out a handful and slowly work my way through.  Grab a piece or two after filling a page of notes or completing a chapter.  It takes a bit to get through the handful, but once they’re gone I know it’s probably time to take a little break and get up from my desk.
6) Index cards.  Not sure if you can really study for midterms without them.  I tend to avoid simply writing out vocabulary.  Instead, I’ll summarize a “section” from a chapter.  That way, I have to know the material well enough to summarize, I get an extra review of the material writing it down, and I have a card for every section to go back and review/study.
7) Mouse.  I’ve already talked about how much this mouse has saved my sore wrists from computer work.

Some closeups.  I love this Knock Knock mouse pad.  I keep track of things to do, people, to call, and emails to write.  (Plus I always add some inspirational quotations!)  My phone is on my desk, but out of the way.  I let text messages sit for a while, only responding or reading during mini-breaks.

Pencil pouch, my May Books homework notebook, and my glasses.
Do you have a similar set up?

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So funny that you posted this today… I just reorganized my desk so that it would be less cluttered for my busy week! It has helped already!


I will proudly admit… I'm a sucker for desk organizations posts! I pretty much have the same set up when I am studying. Sometimes, depending how much material is covered in an exam… I will use to create online notecards instead of writing them by hand… then I can study them wherever I go using the app on my iphone. Saves time AND I can prevent the finger cramps!! 🙂


I'm the same way as you! I have to have everything lined up in a specific order, otherwise I'll get distracted and want to spend a lot of time creating order

Katherine Diane

I love this post. I love organization and seeing how others organize their lives is always fun! I tend to go to the library… at home I am way too likely to take a break and do laundry or watch TV.

But, I do use a similar method with my laptop and sometimes the iPad too. I also love to keep a box to Jolly Rancher chews in my backpack plus a water bottle and coffee are essential. 🙂


My desk looks very similar… except that there's wait for it.. a little flat screen TV in the middle. haha. since it's a dorm room, i didn't want to make holes to put it up on the wall, so i just let it sit there. but yeah, everything else is pretty identical.. even down to the two pairs of glasses (even though i don't switch)

K-pop Panda

LOVE this post! I tend to be a tad unorganized when it comes to,..well everything. This is very helpful and I need to organize myself in a similar fashion.

Gladys Nelson

LOVE this post! I tend to be a tad unorganized when it comes to,..well everything. This is very helpful and I need to organize myself in a similar fashion.