Tips for Overcoming Procrastination as a High School Student

“I’ll do it tomorrow!”

This seems to be the mantra of the typical procrastinating teenager. However harmless this may seem at times, constantly brushing aside tasks can and will lead to unproductive habits. By improving organization, becoming self-disciplined and developing will power an average student can begin to break these habits. Overcoming the urge to procrastinate will not only make an individual more efficient, but it will also reduce some unwanted stress.

Procrastination is the decision to ignore a task with intentions of completing it later. That is where the problem arises. Occasionally “later” never arrives leaving a procrastinator with yet another unfinished task. At a young age neglecting tasks may not result in serious consequences. Maybe a reprimand from a parent, but nothing life altering. However, if one is not able to break these habits succeeding in school or in the work place will be a difficult challenge. The importance of completing ones task will not only affect one’s academic, or financial situation, but it will have a profound impact on that persons self-worth.

In order to break this habit the first step is to prioritize tasks that are pending. An efficient way of doing this involves organization skills. I would advise students to use planners or calenders daily in order to plan ahead. Prioritizing involves a students’ social life as well. By using a planner a student can keep track of deadlines and important functions that they plan to attend. Now a student will have a visual reference that will help them plan ahead in order to allow themselves enough time to complete a task. Having this reference of deadlines will help a student to identify which tasks should take priority over others. High priority tasks should obviously be attended to first, but a planner will also allow a student to find windows of “social” time that they can create by completing their tasks promptly. This will help reduce stressful all-nighters when a deadline has managed to “sneak” up on a student. These cramming sessions tend to result in mediocre and often incomplete work, reiterating the importance of planning ahead to allow enough time to complete a task.

As people mature, most begin to set realistic goals for themselves. Some may want to simply graduate high school, or college, while others have more specific ambitions. Keeping these dreams in mind can help to serve as motivation to complete the seemingly mundane tasks required to achieve those dreams. A specific example of this that comes to mind involves the process that I went through to become a teacher. Before graduation teacher candidates are required to compile massive portfolios that include many artifacts and rationales that are supposed prove that a candidate is a competent teacher. Basically, the portfolio forced future teachers to include documents, reports, and other entries that were often redundant or filled with non-meaningful information. The portfolios were tedious and in my short three years of teaching experience, I have never used anything from my portfolio. My point is that I came to a point in my life where I realized in order for me to accomplish my goals, I must motivate myself to complete undesirable tasks. I kept the end in mind, and it eventually paid off. It is difficult for students to think ahead, but if they can keep their dream in mind, they may be able to motivate themselves to work towards that dream.

Few people actually possess the will power to simply break habits on their own at will. Therefore if one has developed a bad habit, such as procrastination, that they wish to break, I suggest they seek help. I am not necessarily referring to professional help from a psychologist, or a hypnotist, or anything like that. Simply surrounding yourself with people that do not procrastinate may eventually rub off on you. By hanging around people that perform well in your classes, it may be beneficial to take not of their habits. The night before a huge test, they may choose to skip the party and have a study group. This may sound a little on the nerdy side for the typical teenage socialite, but you would be surprised how helpful and efficient studying with other people may be. I participated in several study groups in high school and college, and actually looked forward to them. When other people rely on your presence the chances of your procrastinating tendencies getting the better of you decrease. When you do meet with a group, you will have the benefit of compiling information and possibly even splitting up the work load. Thus, making a tedious task a little easier. A student that chooses to surround his/herself with friends that hold them accountable will be less likely to neglect their studies resulting in higher grades and less stress.

Procrastination has always been a problem that has plagued societies around the globe. It breeds laziness and inefficiency, and everyone at some point in time has fallen victim to it. However, staying organized, focusing on a goal, and allowing others to help will help lead to a decline in putting off important tasks. Completely eliminating procrastination is quite difficult, due to man’s tendency to give in to temptation. Heck, I told myself I would write this article a week ago and I am just now getting around to it! SO, for those of you who insist on saying “I’ll do it tomorrow!” try to keep in mind that tomorrow will always be a day away.