I recently heard a parent exclaim in frustration, “My child doesn’t plan ahead!”
She explained that her child would stay up late into the night cramming. Always for a test or writing a paper that was due the next day.
She was frustrated because she wants her child to understand how to stop procrastinating. I suggested that perhaps the student didn’t know how to plan ahead.
As students get older, they’re expected to complete more long term projects. They have to study hours for tests that cover extensive amounts of material. These students often lack the basic understanding of how to plan for long-term projects. They lack the important skills required to study for large tests.
They need explicit instruction in techniques for breaking big tasks down. Educators call this “chunking.”
Chunking is setting manageable goals, and creating a schedule for completing the tasks.
The Simple Guide to Study Skills book includes lessons and exercises for long term project planning. It teaches students how to “chunk” large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks.
We created the Major Assignment Chunking Sheet to help students break down the large tasks.
The book also explains how to use a monthly calendar to create a project time-line.
You can find a copy of the Major Assignment Chunking Sheet here.
The majority of students don’t want to stay up late into the night to complete a project or study for a test. They just don’t have the organizational skills required to plan ahead.
Teaching them organizational skills and giving them tools encourages them to be independent. This will help them to feel more successful…and takes a lot of the stress away from parents.
1. Write down the date you were given the assignment on your monthly calendar.
For example, let’s say you’re assigned a large history report on October 1st. You would write “history report (HR) assigned” on that day of your monthly calendar.
2. Write the due date of the assignment one day before the actual due date.
This allows for any last minute emergencies. For example, write “History Report (HR) due tomorrow” on October 29th if the due date is October 30th. It’s better to turn the assignment in a day early whenever possible.
3. Break down the assignment into smaller sections or activities. Then assign due dates for those tasks.
4. Write down any upcoming tests for your classes.
5. Double check for accuracy and possible conflicts.
Adjust your schedule if you have too many major events on the same day.
At the end of the day, leave extra room in case some activities take longer than you planned. If you don’t need the time, you can enjoy a relaxing activity from your Luxury category.
6. Pick one day a week that works for you.
Update your weekly schedule on that day every week. Then take two or three minutes to update your monthly calendar. Double check that you are on task with any projects and see if there is anything you need to adjust.
If you practice these 6 tips on how to stop procrastinating you will get more done with your time. You’ll have less stress, and you’ll be more confident.