Strategies for teachers to beat procrastination

Strategies for teachers to beat procrastination

By Matt Robertson for logonliteracy

You have a stack of assignments to mark and several lessons to plan. But instead of ticking things off your to-do list, you spend hours watching videos and endlessly scrolling through social media. 
While it may feel good at the time, procrastination comes back to bite you. It might not be easy, it is certainly possible to beat procrastination.

Here are five tips that we find helpful.


1. Visualise success

Make a habit of visualising how it would be if you completed the tasks at hand on time. A good number of athletes use this strategy to train/exercise even harder for upcoming events.

Australian hypnotherapist Luke Mollica highlights the importance of visualisation. “When you visualise something, it gives you a picture of exactly what you want and can give you a feeling of what that success will do for you. It’s a useful mental technique that can be used by anyone.”

Visualising success and the perks that come with it helps build mental muscle memory and allows you to complete tasks at hand on time. Imagine how it would feel to finish a specific task ahead of everyone else and the freedom of not having to think about it. This alone is enough motivation to beat procrastination and start getting things done. 


2. Create Action Steps

One of the recipes for procrastination is not having an action plan or timetable of what needs to be done. Unless your work entails doing the same thing repeatedly, you are better off creating a schedule or action plan to act as a guide through the way. Failure to have an action plan may translate to having very little or nothing to show at the end of the day. 


3. Make the First Step

The first step to beating procrastination is usually the hardest, but not impossible. Your first step might be planning a hook exercise to open the lesson or sourcing a piece of text to use for a reading activity. Focus on that one task and let it build the momentum you need to get you through your to-do list. 

Life coach Bob Lane explains that overcoming the first hurdle is critical. “Think of the first task as something that opens the floodgates. If you do the first task, you’re on the path to getting everything else done and you’ve kicked it off. The further you delay the first step, the harder it will be to get anything done.”

You will be surprised at how much you can achieve in a single day. Looking back at how much you will have achieved at the end of the day is simply satisfying and rewarding. 


4. Reward Yourself

Make a habit of rewarding yourself for every milestone you make towards overcoming procrastination. Rewarding yourself gives you an even better reason to beat procrastination and work harder to achieve set targets and goals. The rewards can be as simple as a cup of coffee, taking a short walk outside, or some time off with family during the weekend. Such rewards will help you stay focused on the main goals, enabling you to beat your procrastination habit. 


5. Put A Deadline on Each Task

Don’t be the kind of person that waits until the last minute to complete a task. Instead, give yourself a deadline and focus on completing the task before the set time. 

For financial expert Peter Wilesmith, it’s sticking to the deadline that will demonstrate your commitment to the cause. “You can set a deadline yourself, but without actually maintaining it or having a punishment of sorts if you don’t meet it, it doesn’t hold any tangible benefits. Setting deadlines will help you prepare for timed assignments too.”

Putting time pressure on yourself will help improve your productivity and focus, enabling you to achieve so much within a short time. Deadlines have proved to be quite effective when trying to beat procrastination and promote productivity as well.


Bonus tip: You don't have to start your lesson plans from scratch. Hooking Students into Learning... in all curriculum areas contains hundreds of activities that you can adapt to fit your subject and the topics you are teaching. 


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Strategies for teachers to beat procrastination