“You may delay, but time will not.” Benjamin Franklin
Procrastination. It sounds like a dirty word. But did you know that most of us, from time to time, procrastinate? We procrastinate taking out the trash, doing the dishes, or folding the laundry. Yes, most people have procrastinated over a job or task at some point in their lives. However, for others, procrastination can be a habit. Did you know that, although some may assume it is linked to laziness, procrastination is NOT laziness? Let’s unpack that a little bit.
What is Procrastination?
The meaning of procrastination is not laziness. It is typically stress-related, or caused by some unfounded negative beliefs we have about ourselves. Now for many of us, procrastination does not have a negative impact on the quality of life. On the other hand, a great many of us continuously procrastinate and regret it. This can lead to an unfortunate cycle contributing to self-criticism and low productivity. When procrastination becomes a habit, it can profoundly impact our well-being.
Procrastination elevates our stress levels, no matter the cause. A few common causes for procrastination include boredom, low self-esteem, fear, anxiety, perfectionism, and distraction. Kids and teens are especially at risk for putting off tasks and responsibilities. Sometimes there is a fear of failure. Sometimes kids compare themselves and their work to others. Or they may have no clue how to start a project. Some kids need help understanding the directions of a project. And others have difficulty filtering out distractions. Some kids are so hard on themselves, that they’re afraid of taking a risk.
Causes of Procrastination:
Fear of Failure: Procrastination can be a way to avoid the anxiety and fear associated with potential failure.
Lack of Motivation and Task Aversion: When a task is not interesting to the teen, it’s boring, or doesn’t align with their personal goals, they are more likely to procrastinate.
Poor Time Management: Managing time is a skill and if the student doesn’t know how to do it well, that struggle can contribute to procrastination. They may struggle to prioritize and allocate time efficiently.
Perfectionism: Setting excessively high standards WILL lead to procrastination, as the student may delay starting a task to avoid perceived imperfections.
Lack of Self-Discipline: Procrastination often results from a lack of self-discipline and difficulty in maintaining focus on tasks.
The reasons for putting off tasks are often deep. The consequences of procrastination are stress and anxiety, decline in performance, health issues, and even strained relationships.
There are executive function experts who are trained to guide students who struggle with procrastination and give them strategies that can help with school, home, and life.
The executive function experts can teach strategies in:
- Task initiation
- Chunking (breaking the task into smaller manageable pieces)
- Organization (create systems for keeping things in places students can access)
- Motivation (creating strategies for initiating and staying on task)
- Metacognition (helping students know themselves- strengths and needs)
The team of executive function coaches at Wright Academics are trained to help students by creating strategies to develop life management skills, set and achieve goals, create schedules, and self-regulate emotions.
When a student learns they have strategies available to them and can start to control procrastination, it can be life-changing.
We are here to help. No more endless procrastination battles with your child.
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