How your study environment affects your productivity

Factors from noise to distractions in your environment affect productivity levels.


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Whether it is the library or a local coffee shop, your study environment affects your productivity levels. Tolerating the amount of distractions and background noises in certain settings differs for everyone, and with finals approaching, it is important to figure out the perfect balance for you.

Settings, with varying environmental factors, have effects on your mindset and productivity. A study conducted by N. Kamarulzaman, a researcher for Procedia Engineering, found the influence of physical office environments on employees’ productivity. Researchers observed office employees under differing conditions of climate, noise and lighting.

The effects of differing conditions concluded that limited noise allowed for less errors in work and for more productivity, as noisy environments tend to be stressful and demotivating. According to Kamarulzaman, office employees consistently reported that concentration without noise and other distractions is one of the most important aspects of their environment.

The study concluded that environments have great influences on employees’ attitudes, behavior and productivity. A comfortable environment ultimately improves performance.

While environmental factors such as noise and distractions have different effects on every person, concentration is key and limiting those distractions is essential.

MU’s campus offers a multitude of places to study with varying noise levels. While Ellis Library has four levels that differ in quietness, offering silent study rooms, Memorial Union and the MU Student Center have background noise.

“My favorite place to study is Memorial Union,” MU freshman Riley Steinbrecher said. “The Student Center can be too noisy for me, but Ellis is too quiet, and I’m never productive in my dorm room.”

The balance between too noisy and too quiet differs per person, but finding the right mix benefits productivity.

“I think I work best with some background activity, but not too much or I’ll get distracted by other people,” Steinbrecher said. “I definitely get more of my work done there than anywhere else on campus.”

For those who need a caffeine fix and a productive work environment, local coffee shops such as Kaldi’s Coffee and Lakota are a good idea. With the steady flow of people and the buzzing of baristas, coffee shops offer background noise to curb the silence.

“I think coffee shops are definitely my go-to because there are other people there working on stuff as well, which really helps me stay focused,” MU freshman Camille Mcmanus said. “I also love being able to grab some coffee to keep me awake.”

Places such as coffee shops tend to have a steady crowd, which is good if you are the type of student who finds crowded places overwhelming. In a cramped, crowded room, one may feel restricted, stuck and definitely not ready to focus and learn.

“Places that tend to be loud and are full of other people tend to distract me and get me off focus, so I definitely think that where I study has a huge impact on how productive I am,” Mcmanus said.

From background noises to the number of distractions, where you study impacts how you study.

Some places to hit the books include Memorial Union, MU Student Center and Ellis Library. To get off campus, Daniel Boone Regional Library and coffee shops such as Fretboard Coffee are other options as well.

Edited by Brooke Collier |

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