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Become a Top Student While Sleeping 8 Hours a Night


Students today are busy. Really busy. They have homework to do, projects to complete, extra classes to attend, and other responsibilities to fulfill. It’s no wonder that most students are sleep-deprived, and find it almost impossible to lead a balanced life.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

In this article, I’ll share with you the first 5 of 10 principles I used to become a top student who slept eight hours a night – earning a full academic scholarship to study at Duke University, where I did a double major at Duke and graduated summa cum laude.

Students who continually feel overwhelmed are those who spend most of their time on urgent tasks. These are usually the same students who are sleep-deprived! To be an effective student, you must focus on important tasks before they become urgent.

The 5 principles outlined in this article will help you to do just that. (Stay tuned for the next 5, coming next week!)

Principle #1: Stick to a routine.

You should definitely make room in your life for spontaneity. But without some kind of structure or routine, you won’t be able to achieve maximal productivity.

Creating a weekly routine is one of the most important steps to becoming a top student who has a balanced life. Of course, these appointments may change once in a while. But by following what your calendar says you ought to be doing, you’ll have established a solid routine.

Principle #2: Write everything down.

When I say “everything,” I mean it.

As productivity expert David Allen says, “Your brain is a thinking tool, not a storage device.”

I’m sure you’ve already experienced how your brain doesn’t always remember such information perfectly. So instead of relying on your memory, write it all down in an “everything” list. Use a notebook or, if you prefer, a smartphone app like Google Keep.

Principle #3: Make sleep and exercise a priority.

Various studies have shown that sleep improves memory and learning, and so does exercise. If you’re not getting enough sleep and exercise, you probably won’t be a top student who’s focused and motivated. You’ll probably also fall sick more often. When I made it a point to get eight hours of sleep every night while I was in university, my concentration, memory, and mood improved. So did my grades!

Principle #4: Keep up with the work.

Staying on top of your work is easier said than done, I know. But if you want to be a top student who isn’t too stressed, consistency is key. This includes completing your homework at least a day or two before it’s due, skimming through new topics before your teacher covers them in class, and reviewing any new information you learn later that same day, and testing yourself often.

Principle #5: Focus on achieving progress, not perfection.

A big reason why students get demotivated is they feel that they’re not making progress – or that they’re making progress too slowly. Often, this is because students become fixated on the desired outcome, rather than on the process necessary to achieve that outcome.

On your journey to becoming a top student, you’ll face challenges and disappointments. Tests that you underperform in. Essays that your teacher doesn’t like. Group projects that turn out to be a mess.

So it’s essential to remember that the goal is progress, not perfection. How can you ensure that you focus on the process? By setting process-based goals instead of outcome-based ones.

Here are some examples of process-based goals you could set:

  • Read one newspaper article and learn at least five new words a day.
  • Do at least two extra math practice questions a day.
  • Sleep at least seven hours a night on school nights.

As you implement the tips and techniques outlined in this article, I’m confident that you’ll make progress toward becoming a top student. Come back next week to read the other 5 principles!

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