Key No. 11

Rearranging Your Study And Work Environment


The area should be distinctively yours, providing you with a feeling of security and privacy as well as being a place of refuge to which you can retreat.



The monasteries of old had all that you could desire for a conducive study and work environment. They were isolated and protected from distractions and invading visitors, self-sufficient in resources, and bastions of discipline and order. The objectives of their residents were well laid down and the daily plan was designed to ensure that these objectives were attained. Achieving the daily prayer, study and work plan was made possible by the conducive environment and the rules of the monastic life. Strict work allocation times, meal breaks and recreation periods prevailed. Time for reflection on their objectives and progress towards the objectives was carefully metered out and monitored. Distractions and interruptions were eliminated and frivolous activities were forbidden or curtailed.

Today's Application

You can learn from this way of life and adopt the more amenable parts to suit yourself. In this section, however, the physical environment created in the monasteries will be considered in determining the location and layout of your study or office area. Incorporating some of the suggestions of Feng Shui may also be of interest. For most of us our bedroom doubles as our study.


Your study or office area should be partially enclosed on three sides if possible so as to minimise interference, distractions and noise. You should face the centre or inner wall and have your back to the opening. The area should be distinctively yours, providing you with a feeling of security and privacy as well as being a place of refuge to which you can retreat. A visitor or caller should always feel that he or she is in your distinct area or domain.


Ideally one of the sides should provide a view to the outdoors. There should also be an internal view showing a display of your qualifications if applicable, achievements to date and your favourite idol or icon. Personalising your work area can be done by including something associated with your family or social life. In an office environment the internal aspect of the area should also reflect the status associated with the career or function and this should apply particularly to senior positions. Adequate space must also be allowed for computer equipment, printers, storage and drawing boards. 


Lighting, including daylight if possible, heating and ventilation, should be to office or industry standards. Local lighting should be provided for detail and precision work. Be conscious of your own health and safety needs and those of others as well as any local safety requirements.

Consideration should also be given when choosing colours for walls and furnishings that they contribute to creating a stimulating environment. Adding a plant or floral display can brighten up your day.

Activity Status

Display your daily study or work plan, important timetables and notifications. Highlight your current position against target dates for study revision, project submission and task completion.

Time Awareness

Provide a calendar, clock, alarm, timetables and schedules of events covering lectures, meetings, examinations and social activities.


For the study or office area the following items are required: a large desk, storage space, shelving, drawer units (lockable), trays and holders and a comfortable chair with swivel or castors. Stock up with all the stationery and desk top supplies.

Remember having a place for everything eliminates searching.


All the necessary communication links should be provided or accessable when required. At all levels of study and work greater use is now being made of computers, scanners, printers, telephones, mobile phones, photocopiers and faxes.

Data Bases

Data bases in the form of reference books, libraries, encyclopaedias, reports, articles, manuals, microfilm, instructions, drawings, notes, etc. should be available, kept up to date and near at hand in a suitably indexed filing or retrieval system. Access to the Internet, local intranets and the provision of the necessary CDs and DVDs must also be undertaken.

Expansion Space

Consideration must always be given to your future space requirement and provision should be made for just such an event. In the business world this is a critical requirement but unfortunately it is often neglected.

Psychological Considerations


Your study or office area should be designed to provide stimulation and inspiration. The overall effect should be to create a physical environment conducive to study and work.


Key Points
1. The Success Of The Monastic Work Environment
2. Make Your Space A More Productive Place



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