3 Ways to Keep Your Sleep, Friends, AND Good Grades

Josh KuehnLearningLeave a Comment

Sleep, friends, and good grades. Pick two or become the first person to clone yourself so that your clone can worry about the good grades part. I realize there’s nothing original about that question. Sometimes it feels like it couldn’t be more true. Add on personal hobbies and/or a business and say goodbye to sleep or friends (or dropout of school). All these different segments in a person’s life can be stressful to balance. Here’s a few ways I’ve attempted to “have it all.”

1. Set Study Goals

You’ve spent hours studying? Lets be honest, you checked Twitter/Facebook for at least half the time, and the other half you laughed a little too loud at the videos on Vine. Most students wear the amount of time spent in the library like a badge on their chest. It’s tempting to feel good about this but I’ve found it a little pointless. To cut your studying time down heres my first suggestion. Make specific task to complete while studying. Here’s one of my list I use to review ecology.

Example Study Outline

OmniFocus for the Mac

My issue with studying was I never knew when I was done! I could study for days it felt sometimes and not know what was even accomplished. If you make a list of goals you’ll feel the gratitude of checking your items off and have a defined end. These can be recurring list for when you review for a test or you can make a new one every time it’s up to you.

2. Take Breaks

Maybe you’ve heard this before or maybe not. But just like a job everybody need breaks to stay sharp and better yet you’re the boss! Plan breaks ahead of time so that you can socialize, get a snack, or sing some karaoke (I won’t judge you.) If you sprinkle in breaks randomly with your study time inevitably you “study” longer. Small breaks equal no real learning. This tactic keeps you focused and defines a finish line for you to look forward to. I suggest for every 25 minutes you enjoy a 5 minute break. But there’s plenty of resources out there to help you with this that you can put on your phone or computer. Here’s a few I’ve heard about or use.


I don’t personally use any sort of timer on my Mac but I’m a big fan of Forest on the iPhone. Forest is the only one that doesn’t use the Pomodoro time management philosophy. I prefer Forest because the timer is up to me to set. When my willpower is weak it allows me to set more frequent breaks. I do plan to try Pomodoro eventually and see how i like it though.

3. Put Your Phone Away (Get Rid of Distractions)

I say phone because it’s easily the most distracting device per ounce on the planet. I know I said you could have it all but sometimes friends need to be put on hold. I’ll probably go into greater detail about this in another post but I’ve taken a few measures to combat this distraction. My go to is the iPhone Forest app I recommended above. There’s something addicting about growing these fake little trees. To sum it up you’ll set a timer and during the time a tree grows and if you leave the tree dies :(. Take a look at it and i assure the $0.99 it cost to buy it’ll save you in time.

My next line of defense is simply turn your phone off. This seems obvious but you know you cringed a little at the thought. If that’s too painful just put your phone on airplane mode. Airplane mode turns your phone into a time telling paper weight when it’s in airplane mode. You’ll receive zero notifications to steal your attention so you’ll be free to focus.

How to Activate Airplane Mode

At the very least if you do all of this your study time should yield better test grades. With some direction, discipline, and a little planning you are on your way to having sleep, friends AND good grades.

What from here?

Test it out. Challenge yourself to study in half the time you typically do and carry out the steps above. After you’ve finished studying reflect on how you feel compared to your usual methods. You’ll probably feel less stressed and much more accomplished about how your time was spent. If you found these tips helpful I’d really appreciate if you retweeted/liked/forwarded or shared these tips with your friends.

PS: If you’d like to be a beta tester for Tally Swipe theres still time just send me your e-mail address for iTunes to app@kuehnllc.com thanks.