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Procrastination – What, Why & How

Procrastination

Procrastination Assessment

Sure, we all put off a few unpleasant tasks, but psychologists say that some of us poison our success with chronic procrastination. Is your child a chronic procrastinator? Try this simple quiz to find out…

They procrastinate excessively if you agree with five or more of the following statements:

  1. They often put off starting a task they find difficult.
  2. They often give up on a task as soon as they start to find it difficult.
  3. They often wonder why they should be bothered doing a task.
  4. They often have difficulty getting started on a task.
  5. They often try to do so many tasks at once that they don’t finish any.
  6. They often put off a task in which they have little or no interest.
  7. They often try to come up with reasons to do something else.
  8. They often ignore a task when they are not certain about how to start it.
  9. They often start a task but stop before completing it.
  10. They often think that if they ignore a task, it will go away.
  11. They often cannot decide which to begin first.
  12. They often find their minds wandering off to other things.

Why Do Students Procrastinate?

There are many reasons why students procrastinate. Here are the most common reasons:

  1. Perfectionism: A student’s standard of performance may be so high for a task that it does not seem possible to meet that standard.
  2. Fear of Failure: A student may lack confidence and fear that he/she will be unable to accomplish a task successfully.
  3. Confusion: A student may be unsure about how to start a task or how it should be completed.
  4. Task Difficulty: A student may lack the skills and abilities needed to accomplish a task.
  5. Poor Motivation: A student may have little or no interest in completing a task because he/she finds the task boring or lacking in relevance.
  6. Difficulty Concentrating: A student may have too many things around that distract him/her from doing a task.
  7. Task Unpleasantness: A student may dislike doing what a task requires.
  8. Lack of Priorities: A student may have little or no sense about which tasks are most important to do.

How Can I Help My Child Overcome Procrastination?

Here are some things you can do to control excessive procrastination.

  1. Motivation and Positive Self-Talk. “There is no time like the present,” or “Nobody’s perfect.” “The sooner I get at it the sooner I’m free” etc.
  2. Make a schedule of the tasks you have to do and stick to it.
  3. Prioritize the tasks you have to do.
  4. Set clear goals and be specific with time. Set a timer.
  5. Work on tasks at the times they are most alert and positive.
  6. Break large tasks into small manageable parts.
  7. Work on difficult and/or unpleasant tasks first.
  8. Work on a task you find easier after you complete a difficult task.
  9. Work on tasks as part of a study group.
  10. Get help from teachers and other students when you find a task difficult.
  11. Find a good place to work on tasks.
  12. Eliminate distractions that interfere with working on tasks.
  13. Set reasonable expectations that you can meet for a task. Don’t be a perfectionist!!!
  14. Take breaks when working on a task so that you do not wear down.
  15. Rewards when the task is done.

Using Your Best Style to Learn

Learning stars

What Is Important About Learning Styles?

Simply put, using your learning style is your best method of learning. It is important to know and understand your personal learning style in order to develop effective study methods. Matching your style to specific study techniques will help to make sense of the information and help it be stored in memory more effectively. There are three main learning preferences:

  1. Auditory (hearing)
  2. Visual (seeing)
  3. Kinesthetic (doing)

The ideas that follow are by no means absolute, but the intent is to help you assist your child when they are doing homework or studying.

Strategies for Auditory Learners

  • Read instructions out loud or sub-vocalize if in class
  • Make up a rhyme or a song with information in it
  • Say the words in syllables
  • Read the text into a tape recorder and listen to it as review
  • Join a study group where you can discuss main ideas
  • Make up mnemonics
  • Sit towards the front of the classroom so you can hear well
  • Stay away from doors, windows etc to cut out distracting noise
  • Listen to soft music with no lyrics

Strategies for Visual Learners

  • Take notes
  • Use colour coded highlighting
  • Use graph paper to help make charts and diagrams to illustrate key concepts
  • Use mind maps and visual chains
  • Use a computer to help with organization
  • Think in pictures
  • Use photographs and clip to illustrate
  • Underline key words
  • Use Cornell note taking method
  • Use flash cards to help rehearse (questions on 1 side; answers on the other)
  • Remember important terms by looking for a part of the word your know & make connections

Strategies for Kinesthetic/Tactile Learners

  • Participate in class discussions
  • Ask questions and look for the answers when studying
  • Highlight, underline and take notes
  • Do something physical before studying
  • Take regular, brief breaks
  • Move a body part or walk around if it helps you concentrate
  • Use your hands when studying and explaining concepts to yourself
  • Write list repeatedly
  • Sit near the front of the classroom and always take notes
  • Purchase a ball seat
  • Make models
  • Tape your study notes and listen to them while exercising
  • Read on a stationary bike

Back to School


Back to schoo

It’s the beginning of the school year, and time to get our children ready for reading, writing and arithmetic. But now, more than ever, larger skills are the key to academic success.

Organization, time management and study skills are important for children of all ages, and a lack of these skills is a real problem. In fact, “chronic disorganization is a real disability, just as much as a problem with reading, math or spelling might be.” (Mel Levine, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina)

Whether your child is impacted significantly or just has trouble remembering homework from time to time, here are some helpful tips:

  • Research shows more is accomplished if homework is begun right after school and when the hardest assignment is done first. Having a set ‘homework zone’ with necessary materials out and ready alleviates the “I need to find a pencil!” problem.
  • Before homework starts, give a short break and help prioritize assignments. (What will be done first, second, third, etc.?) Check to see if there are any long-term assignments.
  • Always utilize a daily, weekly and monthly calendar.
  • For children who underestimate the amount of time it takes to complete an assignment, use a timer.
  • For those who overestimate the time remaining to complete a task, set a designated start and end time. Reward completion with a privilege.
  • Students of all ages need to have a binder system that works for them and their teachers, and “binder maintenance” should occur at least weekly. Label and file away old materials in a reserve accordion notebook that can be easily accessed in the future (i.e., for a final exam).

Remember that time spent organizing today will be time saved tomorrow! Helping your child gear up for the school year by setting up effective systems early, will help everyone in the long run.


LD/ADHD Memory Tips

Improving memory

LD/ADHD and Working Memory

We all worry about failing memories and rely upon organization and mnemonic tricks to help us stay on top of everything. However, your learning disabled child will struggle even more. I’m sure there are times when you must think they are purposely ignoring you or they got distracted. In truth, it might be their memory that got in the way.

LD and ADHD students often have a weak working memory. This memory is different from the immediate short term memory. Working memory is the ability to hold something in one’s conscious thought and manipulate and use it at the same time. Students who have slow processing speed and written language difficulties also struggle with working memory. Working memory allows students to follow directions, to remember a question while raising their hand to answer it, and hold on to the new information they need to apply to the work. In reading, working memory aids our comprehension, making it possible to organize and summarize the text and connect it to what we already know. In writing, it lets us juggle the thoughts we want to get on paper while keeping the big picture in mind.

LD/ADHD Memory Tricks

  • Make certain they have a quiet study space that is theirs. The material they need to learn must be the most interesting thing around.
  • Aim for comprehension before memorization.
  • Learn using as many senses as possible. We retain:
    – 20% of what we read
    – 30% of what we hear
    – 40% of what we see
    – 50% of what we say
    – 60% of what we do,
    – 90% if we involve 3 or more senses
  • Mnemonic devices such as :
    – Visualization
    – Mind Maps and chunking information into meaningful categories
    – Rhyming Sentences (every good boy deserves fun)
    – Acronyms (HOMES for the Great Lakes)
    – Rhymes and alliteration (30 days hath September…)
    – Jokes
  • Don’t study for longer than 1 hour at a time – take SHORT BUT REGULAR BREAKS . Studies have proven that we remember more of what is studied at the beginning and end of a session so have as many beginnings and endings as possible.
  • Start to prepare early as the brain needs time to consolidate the information. Cramming works for very few.