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How to Overcome Procrastination

One of the main obstacles students face is procrastination. Procrastination is the (often) deliberate and unnecessary postponement of something despite knowing that it will have negative consequences. There are many causes of procrastination. People procrastinate because they are afraid of a potential outcome (like failure) and they do not believe the results will match or exceed the work required to complete the task(s). Lucemi Consulting suggests five ways to overcome procrastination:

  1. Clarify your goals. The first step to getting things done is to know what direction you need to take. What are you trying to accomplish? What needs to be done to achieve your goals? Why is this worthwhile to you? These are some of the types of questions that you can use to help specify your goals.

  2. Get to the root of why you’re procrastinating. Is it due to a lack of motivation, confidence, or a fear of failure? Step back and introspect. Talking it over with a friend or family member may reveal a lot! Ask your friend not to make suppositions but instead to help you by asking you open-ended questions.

  3. Break down your goals. Having goals that are measurable will help you stay on track and increase your motivation. Our minds are designed to track and see progress. If we don’t feel like we’re making progress, it doesn’t feel good and we’re more likely to give up. Celebrating milestones you achieve will help build encouragement and keep up the progress.

  4. Plan out your day step-by-step or hour-by-hour. This will not only help clear your mind, but it will also help you use your time more efficiently. When you know what needs to be done, you’re more likely to do it. Use a planner, a notepad, or any tool that clicks with your mind. The act of just planning will clarify what items are important and decrease the urge to procrastinate.

  5. Find an accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone who helps enforce an accountability structure that promotes a sense of responsibility. It is someone (a parent or a friend) who has your back and encourages you to continue doing what you need to do. When you know that someone else is expecting you to perform and deliver, you’ll be less likely to procrastinate.

Hopefully, with these tips, procrastination could become a bit more manageable.

Please note that procrastination can result from deliberate behavior (e.g., "laziness") on the part of the student, but this is not always the case. Students with ADHD, or those with a lack of executive functioning skills like working memory and time management, can also appear to procrastinate frequently. However, it may not be deliberate bad behavior. The student may not even realize it until it’s too late. For parents, it is important to try not to punish actions that are unintentional because the punishment will not have a "real" impact on the student if the behavior was not deliberate.

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