I think the physical location of where I study has an effect on how productive I am. So, for this experiment, I'm going to study the same material in three locations and see how long it takes me to do each one. I'm going to complete three similar math worksheets, one in each location.
I've chosen my three locations as the library, my apartment, and the "study room" in my apartment. The "study room" is an empty bedroom in my apartment that contains a desk, chair, lamp, and other furniture, but absolutely no "stuff". No TV, computers, or electronic devices. The idea is to have a room with no distractions.
My first location is my bedroom in my apartment. This is the place with the most distractions, and where I think I'll be the least productive. I began to work on the math worksheet, and I finished it in 31:19. It seemed like it took a while, and I frequently found myself messing with other stuff in there, or just staring off into space. So, my apartment isn't the most ideal study space.
My second location is the study room in my apartment. I don't really do much work in here. The only things in that room are a desk, dresser, and a bed and nightstand, because that's what the room comes furnished with. Nobody lives there this semester, so it's just been an extra room. I managed to finish the second math worksheet in 24:32. It's a small improvement from the first one. I felt more focused and less likely to get distracted. (On a side note: I took this picture a long time after I actually did this experiment. At the time, the room was empty. Now, my roommate has discovered he prefers to work in here, and doesn't really clean it up. )
My third location was the library. This is where I generally do the majority of my schoolwork, and I've noticed many benefits from doing so. I feel more focused and motivated in the library, because I'm surrounded by so many people who are also getting their stuff done. Seeing everyone else working pushes me to work, too. There's nothing else to do there but schoolwork, plus the lighting helps a lot. I have an obsession with lighting for any place that is going to be a workspace for me. I read that harsher white light, such as fluorescent lights, stimulates your brain and keeps you awake versus soft white light that's meant to relax you. I've found this to be true. If I have schoolwork to do, I'll go to a place that's very well lit. The lighting plus the environment contributed to positive results. I finished the third math worksheet in 18:01. It's a big jump from 31:19.
I'll have to conclude that there are times where you need absolute privacy and quiet when you need to study, and if that works for you, go for it. I noticed that I preferred studying around people who were also studying, that it gave me a bit of a boost and made me want to get my stuff done. Studying alone, I tended to let my mind wander, even without distractions. It was much worse in my bedroom, though. I likely associate my bedroom with relaxation and sleeping, so getting work done in there was difficult. I associate our "study room" with studying, so that factor wasn't in play, but I still was less focused than in the library. When you're alone and no one is checking on you, your mind can wander, and before you know it, ten minutes have gone by with you blankly staring off into space. Surrounded by other people, this tends to go away, and keeps you on track.