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Fighting Procrastination Over the Holidays

The winter break is before us and, speaking for myself, procrastination is setting in. Case in point…I REALLY did not want to sit down and write this article for December.

I came up with all kinds of excuses by thinking things like, “I have too many other things to do that are much more pressing.” Or, “Who really cares about homework tips and study skills in December, anyway?”

Truth be told, I would prefer to finish my Christmas shopping, wrap a few gifts, sit under the beautiful lights on my Christmas tree sipping hot cocoa, and daydreaming about my upcoming family vacation.

BUT, it is not quite time to celebrate and I have to practice what I preach, so here I am…forcing myself to write! (Well, it is not quite that bad, but I would rather have a cup of hot cocoa right now.)

So, I thought I would address the very topic that is plaguing me right now, as I’m sure most students and families are excited (or stressed) over the upcoming Holidays, too.

Fighting Procrastination Over the Holidays

It is very hard to concentrate and stay focused in December, but it is even worse after the new year. As the Holiday celebrations simmer down and the back-to-school blues set in, no one wants to do anything. When the alarm clock rings on that first back-to-school day in January, we’ll be wishing we could pull our warm, fleece blankets over our heads and hibernate through the rest of the winter (especially here in Michigan).

So, if you happen to have homework over your winter break, I am here to encourage you to do it *before* any of the festivities begin.

I know, I know…much easier said than done. But, imagine how much more enjoyable your time off will be when you do not have to worry about finishing that project, completing that assignment, or writing that report…because you have already finished it!

Imagine how much more enjoyable January 1st will be when your parents ask, “Do you have any homework?” and you can reply, “No, it’s all done!”

This concept is something that we, as humans, always struggle with. It is called, “delaying gratification.” It means taking care of things sooner, rather than later, so you can save yourself bigger problems and hassles down the road.

Even though it might seem very, very difficult to do your homework the day after school is out for winter break, imagine how much more difficult it will be to do it two weeks later, after you have grown quite comfortable in your vacation schedule.

So, I have a suggestion…

Action Plan

This month’s action plan is really quite simple…make like Nike® and “Just do it!” (You’ve heard me say that before, haven’t you?) To make it a little easier on yourself, think of a reward you can give yourself when you complete your homework…an extra little Holiday present or treat to look forward to while you trudge through your homework.

Parents, if your students are out of school a few days before you are out of work, challenge them to complete their homework on/before your last day of work. If everyone has their homework done, perhaps you can treat the family to a movie or have an in-home movie night with everyone’s favorite take-out.

Only you know what will really motivate your family, but the point is to provide some encouragement to help everyone have a better, more relaxed, Holiday break.

Conclusion

It is not easy to avoid procrastination over the Holidays and there are no short-cuts or excuses that will help the problem go away; but with a goal, a reward, and images of a homework-free vacation in front of you, you can break through the wall of procrastination and gain a sense of pride for delaying just a bit of gratification.

P.S. Funny thing…after putting this article off for a longer time than I should really admit, it ended up being the fastest article I have ever written! Go figure! Now, for some of that hot cocoa…

-Susan Kruger

 


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