How to Pass Time in Class

Five Methods:Paying AttentionBeing ProductiveChanging Your EnvironmentCreating EntertainmentManipulating the Apparent Passage of Time

Time can seem almost to stop when you are sitting in a class that is boring. Finding a way to occupy yourself can make the class feel as though it goes by faster. Try a variety of approaches to find a technique that works best for you. Some of the methods have the added benefit of helping you be more successful in school and get ahead on your workload.

Method 1
Paying Attention

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    Listen to your teacher actively. Listening to and thinking about what the teacher is saying is the best way to stay engaged with class material. Active listen implies both hearing and thinking.
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    Take thorough notes. If you try to write down most of what your teacher says, you will remain quite busy and you won’t feel as bored.
    • You may also start doing better on tests because you are paying attention.
    • This approach has the added benefit of helping you when it is time to study or helping a friend who is absent from class.
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    Illustrate your notes. Studies have shown that people who doodle on their notes tend to pay more attention and retain the information better.[1]
    • Alternate between drawing and note taking.
    • Nonsensical doodles may be just as effective as illustrations that connect to the content of the notes.
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    Interact with the teacher and your classmates. The time will seem to go by faster if you take advantage of the social environment of the classroom to engage with your fellow students you’re your teacher.[2]
    • Ask questions about the content. You will stay focused and time will go faster if you raise your hand and ask questions or if you answer questions that your teacher poses.
    • Introduce a controversial remark or idea. If you think that the content of the lecture is boring, try to find the way to introduce a controversial spin. The ensuing debate between students of differing opinions is likely to be lively and entertaining.
    • Play the “devil’s advocate.” Even if you agree with a point someone makes, try arguing with them.
    • This will challenge others to defend their positions and other classmates may join in on either side.
    • You can have fun playing a mental game of arguing against something you actually believe.
    • Arguments or debates frequently lead to fun and engaged learning and will make the time seem to pass more quickly.
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    Make a game out of listening. If the subject matter is boring, try listening to a lecture for other reasons. Here are a few suggestions:
    • Note your teacher’s annoying speech habits (like saying “umm”) and keep tally marks every time one occurs. Have a running competition each day to see if there will be more than the day before.
    • Try making a word cloud manually. Write frequently occurring words from the lecture in a cloud on a piece of paper, making more frequent words larger and more prominent on the page and less frequent words smaller.
    • Try listing only the nouns or only the verbs that your teacher uses. Then look for secret subliminal messages hidden in the patterns of her language use.

Method 2
Being Productive

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    Do homework for this class or another class. If you know that you have homework for the class, get a jump on it and get it done before you even get home. If there is no homework for the class you’re in, do homework for another class.
    • Don’t assume that you will have time in class to do homework that is due the same day. Instead, use the time to get ahead on work that is due the next day or later.
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    Create an elaborate organizational system. Try coming up with and implementing an organizational system for yourself. Get colorful pens and highlighters and write down important deadlines and events in your calendar or agenda.
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    Write a to-do list. Make a list of all the things you need or want to do once you leave class. This will help you become organized and prioritize the items you need to do as well as give you a productive activity to do while you are still in class.
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    Plan upcoming events. If you have an upcoming event, such as a party, write down a plan for it. Think about things you will need to buy, decoration ideas, and a guest list. Write down all of your ideas so that you won’t forget them.
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    Read quietly during class. If you have reading to do for another class or for pleasure, tune out your teacher and read.
    • Hide the book inside the class textbook, particularly if it is a novel or a smaller textbook.
    • Try to remember to look up occasionally so that the teacher thinks you are paying attention to her.
    • If you get caught, apologize. However, know that it is better to get caught reading than doing less productive things and you are less likely to get in trouble.

Method 3
Changing Your Environment

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    Avoid watching the clock. Staring at the clock and watching the time slowly tick by will make you hyper-aware of the slowness of time passing. Focus your attention on something else.
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    Leave the room for a few minutes. If you are able, get a hall pass and go to the restroom or the water fountain. This can make 5 minutes pass more quickly.
    • Try not to stay out of the room for too long, or your ability to leave in the future may be restricted.
    • Don’t do anything outside the classroom that would arouse suspicion.
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    Drink your water. Staying hydrated can help recharge you mentally. [3] Drinking a lot of water can also create a need to leave the room for a trip to the restroom.
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    Move around as much as possible. If you have to stay in your seat, you can still move around by stretching, lifting one leg and then the other, sitting on one leg, or crossing and uncrossing your legs.
    • Even small movements can help keep you from getting sleepy.
    • Doing a repetitive movement and focusing on it can help you feel less bored.
    • Try not to do something that will be overly distracting to other students.
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    Ask if you can stand in the back or sit on top of a desk or on the floor. A change of scenery or position may make you feel less bored and more attentive.[4] Try asking your teacher if you can have an alternate seating option in order to pay closer attention. Be sure to tell her that you will not be disruptive in the new position.
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    Stay warm. Being cold can slow down your perception of time passing.[5] Be sure that you have an extra layer with you.
    • Even in the summer, school classrooms are often cold, so you should be prepared.
    • Be aware, however, that being too warm may make you feel sleepy. Try to find a happy medium.
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    Look out the window. If your classroom has a window, find something or someone to watch outside.[6] Focusing your attention on the outdoors will help you be entertained in a refreshing way. Turning your attention to something outside the classroom can help assuage your boredom.

Method 4
Creating Entertainment

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    Pass notes with a friend. Write notes back and forth with a friend. Ask personal questions or entertaining questions such as “would you rather be attacked by a lion or an alligator and why.”
    • You can also play hangman or tic tac toe on paper. You may want to have more than one game going at once so that you don’t have to pass the paper as frequently.
    • Be sure to be discreet about your note passing.
    • Don’t write anything in your note that you wouldn’t want your teacher (and possibly your parents) to read in case she sees you and takes your note away.
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    Play a game by yourself. Playing a game like sudoku or a crossword puzzle can keep your mind active while the class is going on. You can be engaged with an activity but quiet at the same time. Try different puzzle games until you find one you like. You can find a book of puzzles or print them from the internet.
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    Ask if you can listen to music. Listening to music can make your experience more enjoyable and can sometimes boost your productivity.[7]
    • Assure your teacher that you will listen quietly and not disrupt anyone else.
    • Tell your teacher that you will get your work done more productively if you are listening to music.
    • Be sure the music is something peppy that you enjoy so that you can stay awake.
    • Do not sing along to your music aloud in class.
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    Meditate silently in your seat. Meditating can be a relaxing way to entertain yourself silently.[8]
    • Breathe deeply in and out. Focus on deep, regular breaths but don’t breathe too loudly.
    • Sit straight in your seat with both feet flat on the ground.
    • Place your hands in a neutral position on your desk.
    • Clear your mind and focus on a happy, quiet thought.
    • Meditate with your eyes open, but don’t focus your vision on any particular thing in the room.
    • Practice filling yourself with emptiness, then with a single idea or emotion.

Method 5
Manipulating the Apparent Passage of Time

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    Be happy. Studies have linked sadness and boredom to the perception that time has slowed down. Making yourself be positive and happy will help you feel like time is going by more quickly.[9]
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    Keep your head off of the desk. Feeling overly sleepy will make the class seem to go by more slowly. You can make yourself feel more awake by acting more awake and keeping your head up.[10] Further, try maintaining a straight, alert posture and keep your feet grounded on the floor.
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    Take a short nap. Napping always makes time go by faster. While this is a high-risk move because you may be reprimanded for sleeping, it is also high reward because the time will seem to go by much faster than it normally does.
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    Try not to space out. Being aware of your surroundings will keep your brain more engaged. Being engaged with ideas or people will make the time feel as though it goes by more quickly. Spacing out, or staring in to space and becoming unengaged, will simply make everything drag by.

Article Info

Categories: Class Distractions