We’ve all struggled in our studies – it’s no secret. Preparing for a big test, or just working on brushing up our vocabulary for a due essay isn’t exactly what anyone would call “fun” – and that often makes it hard to focus. Between the Internet, social media, video games, and texting, the attention span of an average teenager is torn around a lot. It seems impossible to keep up with everyone else and still have the time and mental focus to prepare ourselves in our studies.

But it isn’t. It’s just a matter of keeping a few things in mind during – and before – our studies. The key to a successful school life lies in discipline, control, and life hacks.

1. The first tip to studying successfully is time management. If studying becomes less of an ambiguous, looming disaster we all want to avoid, and more of a quantified foe whom we can face on a daily basis on a strict schedule, it’ll become easier to study. Alongside time management comes priority training.

What do you really need more – an hour with your friends, or an ace on that crucial test paper? If you clear out your studying and school responsibilities early in the day, with as much focus as possible, you can completely avoid studying for the rest of the day and you can devote yourself to having fun without the guilt of ignoring your schoolwork.

2. The next thing you need to pay attention to is the physical. Do you get enough sleep? Are you studying in an ideal fashion? What are you eating, and how often? There are a few lifestyle tweaks that can help you learn better and faster, as well as retain more knowledge. A big one is exercise. Working out can increase your brain’s plasticity, and give it more longevity, all the while increasing the blood flow to your skull. It might not seem that way given the way jocks are, but look at any intelligent and successful figure in history – from Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Benjamin Franklin to Plato, Hippocrates and Socrates – and you’ll hear about the importance of training the body while training the mind.

3. Finally, consider using a couple aids in studying. I don’t just mean acronyms, speed math, or other “shortcuts” – I’m talking about nootropics. While drugs like Adderall have potential side effects, a natural and holistic Adderall substitute isn’t hard to find. Supplements like Addrena or a combination of caffeine and L-theanine from your local drug store can help achieve the same effect, while not affecting your long-term health in any way.