Procrastinating causes stress and anxiety the night before a test. Cramming the information into one night is not an effective way for your teen to attain knowledge and perform well. Here are some strategies to help them curb procrastination:
1. Plan out your week using a calendar: Before your week begins, look at your availability, as well as your long-term assignments, and map out the small steps that can be accomplished to ease up the workload. For example, maybe you have an essay due in a month and you haven’t started. You could make it a goal to brainstorm ideas this week on a mind map then start your rough draft the next. Coming back to your assignment a few times with fresh eyes helps you see things you may miss when you do it all the night before it’s due.
2. Set aside ‘Homework Time’ each evening: Don’t set aside four hours every night because it’s too long and you’re likely to feel overwhelmed and skip it altogether. Instead, plan for an hour or two (depending on your courses and grade level) each night so you can review and plan rather than play ‘catch-up.’ Also, focus on one subject or task at a time. Swapping between assignments can make you feel stressed and it will take longer to finish.
3. Disconnect and address all distractions: Turn off your cell phone, social media accounts, and TV. Tell your friends and family when you’re going to be working so they don’t disrupt your concentration.
4. Create a realistic and manageable To Do list: Look at each individual task, break them down into small tasks and check them off as you go. Seeing your progress will prompt you to keep going!
5. Start with the most difficult task first: You will know that the hardest part is over and it will motivate you for the rest.
6. Reward yourself! Having something to look forward to at the end of a productive work session is a great motivator.
Julie Diamond is a certified teacher in Canada and the founder of Teachers to Go.
Julie Diamond speaking at the OISE conference for Alternative, Innovative and Inspiring Career Paths for Teachers at the University of Toronto.
Jenna Srigley is the administrative assistant at Teachers to Go and offers invaluable insight as a mom of 2 teens.