9 Do’s and Don’ts to Stop Procrastinating
How can students stop procrastinating? Procrastination is a habit that every student struggles with at some point. But beating student procrastination isn’t impossible!
Procrastination can have many negative impacts on students, including poor performance, lowered grades, and increased stress. These consequences can snowball quickly, leading to a cycle of poor grades and low self-confidence that can be hard for students to break out of.
Whether it’s homework assignments or studying for upcoming tests—it’s time to help your child beat the procrastination problem.
How Can Students Stop Procrastinating?
The first step toward helping your child stop putting off school work is understanding why students procrastinate. Many parents may feel that their child is lazy or just doesn’t care—but that usually isn’t the case. Procrastination is commonly a sign of a deeper issue.
If your child struggles with procrastination, there are things you can do to help get him or her back on track to better grades (and less stress about school).
Keep reading to learn how to help your child avoid procrastinating on school work.
Getting Started: How To Stop Procrastinating
- START SMALL
Don’t: Tackle Everything at One
Do: Break projects into smaller tasks. If your child is working on a big task, help him or her break it down into smaller pieces that can be tackled individually. This will help make the task more manageable and less overwhelming so your child is able to get started.
- SET GOALS
Don’t: Start projects without knowing what the goal is
Do: Break down the task and help your child set specific goals such as completing a certain amount of the assignment by a particular date. Having goals to work toward will help give your child a clearer path to completing a project.
- DON’T OVERTHINK IT
Don’t: Stress about the “what ifs” (ex., “What if I get a bad mark?”)
Do: Stressing about a task can make it seem more daunting than it actually is. This makes it even harder to get started. Before your child starts, have him or her get out all of his or her concerns about the project. Once these are written down, talk to your child about a strategy to overcome each concern.
- REMOVE DISTRACTIONS
Don’t: Let distractions steal the focus.
Do: Create a space that is just for school work. This space should be free from distractions like clutter, television, cell phones, and other family members or activities so your child can focus on his or her assignments.
- STICK TO A SCHEDULE
Don’t: Make a habit of thinking “I’ll do it later”
Do: Create a schedule that includes the due dates of any upcoming assignments. Help your child schedule a time to work on projects and set deadlines to work toward.
- TAKE BREAKS
Don’t: Allow study breaks to turn into procrastination traps
Do: take study breaks the right way. Avoid checking in on social media or text messages—these can steal focus, with 10 minutes quickly turning into an hour. Instead, encourage your child to use a 5-10 minute study break to stretch or go outside for a walk before getting back to work.
- KEEP THE LIST SHORT
Don’t: Start too many things at once and end up with lots of half-started tasks
Do: Complete a task (or as much of a task as possible) before starting a new one. This will help your child avoid feeling overwhelmed by working on too many tasks at once. A study schedule will help here as well, outlining exactly what your child should be working on and when.
- ADJUST EXPECTATIONS
Don’t: Expect to be perfect
Do: It’s ok not to be perfect—the goal of any project is to do your best and learn from any mistakes you make so you can get a little better each time.
- BOOST MOTIVATION
Don’t: Dwell on not wanting to do a task
Do: Provide motivators when your child hits a milestone such as meeting a deadline or completing a project. This could include words of praise and encouragement for your child or a special treat.