When I work with a student who has trouble with procrastination because of ADHD, dyslexia, or other learning differences, the first step is to figure out the fear and the assumptions that are enabling the procrastination. A student may say, “I just can’t make myself do my homework.” But when you really explore why they “can’t,” you’ll find that they are afraid that, even if they do the assignment, they will fail. Once the fear of failure is out in the open, you can remind students of the times they have succeeded in the past. Or, you can analyze what led to failure in the past and develop strategies to address the specific obstacles they faced.
When it comes to procrastination, the last thing you should do is write it off as simple laziness. If you think of procrastination as just laziness, you normalize the fear and leave the underlying fears and assumptions unchallenged. If left unexplored, the fear surrounding daunting tasks is nebulous and overwhelming. When we acknowledge that fear is the root of procrastination, students are better equipped to begin developing strategies for managing it. Defining the fear makes it easier to talk about and easier to develop solutions.
Share with us your strategies for dealing with procrastination in the comments!
- Elizabeth Ross, M.A., SMARTS Media Manager