The Secret to Becoming a Better Student

As a student it’s always frustrating when you have to choose between having fun and getting your schoolwork done.

Well the good news is there’s a secret to enjoying your time in college or high school and it’s staring you right in the face:

You need to make more of your downtime.

You know… those little pockets of time when you’re in between classes, on the bus, or having coffee in the morning?

Want to be organized this school year? Choose from our school planner collection.

By using this time effectively you will be a more productive student, and you will free up your nights for hanging out with friends or doing fun activities.

Try the following tips for getting the most of your downtime in school:

Choose a weekly class goal

At the beginning of each week, decide for yourself a particular goal you’d like to make progress on, and reserve your downtime for goal-related activities. For example, you want to get ahead in a language course? Then this week have audiobooks or links to online lessons cued-up and ready.

Having reading available

For homework or for pleasure, there is always reading you can catch-up on, so keep it handy. Start a reading folder of print magazines, newsletters or articles, or store-up online articles to a bookmark site such as Delicious or Digg, or a mobile app such as Instapaper.

Plan, Prioritize, Review

There are many reasons to keep your trusty student planner with you at all times, one of them being you should always sneak in a few minutes of PPR. Spare some time to plan your day, prioritize your studies, and review your schedule. That’s all it takes to enjoy better time management as a student today.

Think with a notebook

It’s amazing how a blank sheet of paper has the power to decompress your brain. Take a few minutes each day to clear your head of what’s stressing you, write down a list of things to do, sketch out some goals and dreams, or journal what happened over the past 24 hours.

Add a balancing activity

School has your schedule booked. Balance out your life by squeezing-in a few non-school related activities whenever possible. Read a few pages from a novel, call and say hello to a family member, have coffee with a friend, or catch-up on a hobby.

Follow the above methods and you’ll find yourself more satisfied with all you’re getting done each week. And here’s an additional tip: whatever method you choose, be sure of two things: 1) you’re leaving yourself ample time to relax; 2) you’re focusing your attention and not multitasking.

→ BTW: Learn the essential skills for getting good grades and having fun in school — download our FREE Student Time Management guide.

[photo by khrawlings]

Day-Timer Spokesperson Jeff Doubek can be reached at