YOUNG PEOPLE ASK
How Can I Stop Procrastinating?
Tired of always finishing your chores and homework assignments late? You really need to stop putting things off! This article will help you to stop procrastinating, even when
After reading this article, take our procrastination quiz.
The Bible describes a sad consequence of procrastination. It states: “He that is watching the wind will not sow seed; and he that is looking at the clouds will not reap.”—Ecclesiastes 11:4.
Consider some factors that might contribute to the problem and what you can do to stop procrastinating.
The task seems overwhelming.
Let’s face it—some tasks are so daunting that it’s easier just to put them off. Here are a few better ideas.
Break up the project into smaller segments. “Even if I know that I’m way behind, I try to catch up by doing one thing at a time,” says a girl named Melissa.
Begin immediately. “Start as soon as you get the task, even if that means simply adding it to your to-do list or jotting down a couple of ideas before you forget them.”—Vera.
Ask for help. Your parents and teachers likely have faced a similar challenge. Why not tap into their experience? They may help you to organize your ideas and make a plan.
Tip “Make a schedule. True, that means you have to be organized and determined to follow through, but it works—you get everything done when it needs to be done.”—Abbey.
You just don’t feel motivated.
Too often, the assignments you have to tackle involve the things that bore you the most. So what can you do if the project at hand just doesn’t appeal to you? Try the following.
Think of a reason to do it early. For example, imagine how great you’ll feel when you’re done. “I love the feeling I get when I’ve done something on time or when I’m ahead of schedule and I can finally relax,” says a girl named Amy.
Remind yourself of the consequences. When you delay, you add to your stress and take away from your chances of success. The Bible says: “You will reap exactly what you plant.”—Galatians 6:7, Good News Translation.
Move the due date closer in your mind. “It helps me to pretend that an assignment is due one or two days before the actual deadline,” says a girl named Alicia. “Then I can recheck it and have a day or two to spare.”
Tip “It’s all about mind-set. Tell yourself that you will do what needs to be done and that nothing will get in your way. When I say that to myself, what needs to happen happens.”—Alexis.
You’re already too busy.
“People often call me a procrastinator,” says a boy named Nathan, “but it’s unfair! They don’t realize how busy I am!” If you feel the way Nathan does, try these tips.
Do easier tasks first. “Someone once taught me that if a task takes less than five minutes to complete, you should do it right away,” says a girl named Amber. “That includes things like cleaning, hanging up your clothes, washing the dishes, and making a phone call.”
Set priorities. The Bible says: “Make sure of the more important things.” (Philippians 1:10) How can you apply that in your daily life? “I keep a list of all the assignments I have and a record of when they’re due,” says a girl named Anna. “But most important, I make a note of when I plan to work on and complete each project.”
Does that seem restrictive? Think again! The fact is, when you make a schedule, you control your time rather than allowing your time to control you. And that reduces your stress. “Having a plan calms me down and puts things into perspective,” says a girl named Kelly.
Eliminate distractions. “I let everyone in my house know when I’m starting my project,” says Jennifer. “If there’s anything they need to have me do, I ask them to please tell me before I get started. I also turn off my phone and e-mail alerts.”
Tip “Whatever you’re supposed to do won’t go away until you do it. Rather than have it hanging over your head, just get it done. That way you can relax for the rest of the day.”—Jordan.