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The Four P's to a Balanced Year: Prioritize, Plan, Pace and Pause.

"Pow!" It's like that, and school is back in session. Friends are reunited; the hallways buzz with excitement; crisp new notebooks crinkle with use. Like the bold colors of autumn, busy schedules emerge with homework, projects, games, and clubs. Here are four tips to help students strike a balance between academics, extracurricular activities and a social life.

1. Prioritize

Which classes take extra time and effort? Do practices, study sessions or rehearsals meet at overlapping times? What commitments have already been made -- volunteering, a job, family responsibilities? Only superheroes can be in two places at once, so learning to say "no" to an activity is equally as important as learning to say "yes."

2. Plan

Using a calendar or planner helps with organization, and a "to do" list fights off forgetfulness. When an assignment is confusing or difficult, take it one step at a time and start on it early. If there's a test on Friday and an event on Thursday, study ahead.

3. Pace

Developing a routine, taking care of the body and asking for help are all ways to prevent feeling overwhelmed or "burned out." Find time to relax, get plenty of sleep, and eat healthy snacks. Don't be afraid to lean on teachers, family, and friends.

4. Pause

Live in the moment and have fun, this great year only comes around once!

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