“I’ll do it tomorrow.”
This is an overused phrase we’re all guilty of saying and one we often hear from our children. As to-do lists grow and time seems to speed up, it is easy to become overwhelmed with all of our tasks; we get distracted, unmotivated or simply too tired to get around to them. Researchers believe that procrastination can link to underlying factors such as emotional regulation, functional limitations or even genetics. Whatever the reason may be, children are not subject to a life of procrastination and poor time management skills.
Here’s how to beat procrastination and improve productivity for your children:
Make a list
Writing things down and ticking them off is extremely satisfying. This will help your children organise their thoughts, remember everything they need to do and give them opportunity to prioritise tasks in order of importance. With all responsibilities listed in a single place of reference, it is much easier to keep track of them. Ticking tasks off as they are completed will give your children a sense of victory and motivate them to continue down the list.
Begin with the hardest task
Ultimately the task needs to be completed by a certain point and your children must start somewhere. It is up to them how hard it becomes by leaving it to the last minute. Encourage your children to begin with the hardest task first to eliminate the biggest challenge and remind them of what they can accomplish. Moving on, the smaller tasks will seem much easier and more achievable.
Put it in your calendar
Work with your children to create a calendar to list all events and commitments in one place month by month. For younger children, make it colourful and stick it on the wall. For older children, this can be in their phone calendars which they are likely to have easy access to or a school diary. At Guildford Grammar School, students are expected to use their school diaries daily to note assessments, deadlines, events and assignments. They should refer to their diaries every day to plan their time and keep them organised.
No matter how motivated your children may be, obstacles can arise. Together, discuss any possible hurdles you can think of and how you can overcome them. This will mentally prepare your children and reduce the chances of procrastination. It is also good for children to consider how long tasks may take when planning their time. This will help them to be realistic with their goals and avoid stress and disappointment.
Take a break
Although we may not always seem to reach the end of our to-do lists and there is always a task we could be working on, it is essential to take regular breaks. Children’s schedules can be just as busy as their parents, but without downtime they will become stressed, unproductive and over-whelmed. Try and set regular breaks in your children’s schedules and during study time – this will dissect the time into digestible chunks. Offer them a reward for their proactive work and help them recharge their energy.
Stay on track
Routine is important for children in many ways, particularly when staying on track, maintaining focus and remaining productive. They will be more likely to develop good time management skills and conditioned to days and periods when it is time to study, for example. Studying is amplified in the right environment. Create a distraction-free study space for your children to reduce the chances of procrastination.
Essay Expert has a useful infographic to help encourage your children become realistic with their goals, have faith in themselves and live in the present. If children are able to weave these tips into daily life, they can keep procrastination at bay.
Students at Guildford Grammar School can benefit from spending time in the Library as part of the Senior School Homework Club which is held from 3.30pm-5.00pm from Monday to Thursday, with a number of experienced Old Guildfordians on hand to help students with their homework and study. Some of the subjects covered include maths, physics, French, chemistry, human biology, Chinese, business, politics & law, economics, English, essay writing, geography and media. Students can visit the Library for a full list of subjects and times.
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