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Schoolbox 
how your son can beat procrastination and improve focus

We all fall prey to procrastination – especially during exams. It’s a really tough period for students and wastes valuable time.

Why does procrastination happen? Studies have shown that we procrastinate when we are under stress or afraid. Our brain tries to convince us to avoid the task as a way to provide some immediate stress relief. So procrastination is not simply the act of being lazy or feeling unmotivated. These are just coping mechanisms for feelings of stress and fear. We should be asking ourselves, “what are we stressed about?” This is the first step in learning how to beat procrastination and increase focus. 

Here’s the worst part about procrastination — once we start the procrastination cycle, it’s very hard to shake it off. When we put things off because we are not in the right mood, we set ourselves up to get nervous when too much time has passed and we have to race against the clock. In the end, we beat ourselves up and feel guilty, because at this stage, we are overwhelmed with stress and disbelief at how we let ourselves get here.

Here are six quick tips for your son to beat procrastination and increase his focus:

  • Have him establish a dedicated study space
  • Remove everything unnecessary that could distract him
  • Turn off all social media and external communications for his study session
  • Help him to create a study timetable
  • Practise discipline – encourage him to stick to this timetable
  • Set a reward for your son once his study session is complete.

It is important to think only about the task at hand and do one thing at a time. You can’t expect your son to focus if his mind is drifting to all the other tasks that he may have to do.

Encourage him to be mindful of when he goes off track, and gently bring his attention back to the task at hand as soon as he notices his mind wandering.

It's important to acknowledge that he will want to procrastinate at times. Don’t let him beat himself up, rather help him realise that he is stressed about something and he is simply looking for relief.

Feeling guilty about procrastinating never helps in the long-term. His goal should be to be vigilant when he feels procrastination creeping in, and not settle for inaction. Set your son up for exam success by using these six simple tips to help him stay on task. 

The HSC can be a difficult time for both students and parents. To help you navigate this period we have put together The HSC Survival Guide - a guide containing expert advice for parents from teachers, counsellors and around the web. Download your copy by clicking the banner below.

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