We’ve all procrastinated at some point. Something was due in a month, you figured you had plenty of time–next thing you know, it’s a day before the deadline. This isn’t an uncommon experience for teens and many adults. A certain amount of procrastination can actually be helpful, but it’s figuring out the right amount for you; that’s the difficult task. As parents, we all want to help teach our children healthy habits for teens, procrastinating well may be an important one. The Atlantic recently interviewed Charles Duhigg–an investigator for the New York Times and a best-selling author–about the best way to procrastinate.
What’s the best way to procrastinate?
We’ve probably all fallen into the internet rabbit hole. You watch one YouTube video and suddenly it’s 3 hours later and you’ve watched 30. Usually procrastination comes from a feeling of fatigue and wanting a break. There’s no “best” way to procrastinate, it’s different for everyone, but Duhigg offers up some good advice that’s flexible for everyone.
“We have a list of our procrastination tasks because sometimes you need to do something different, your brain’s a little bit tired, you need to give it 10 or 15 minutes to recharge.” –Charles Duhigg
In the above quote, Duhigg is talking about procrastinating through productive tasks. He says to make a list of small tasks you need to get done for the day or the week that you actually enjoy doing, then whenever you need a break from what you’re doing, do one of the tasks. That way, though you’re procrastinating on your big task, you’re still getting something done.
Many people want a break, but they have to make a decision when they decide to take the break, often leading to unproductive, distracting things like Buzzfeed quizzes or scrolling through Facebook that end up taking much more time than 10 or 15 minutes. By making the decision for yourself (the list of tasks), you’ve made up your mind and it’s easier to turn to those tasks instead of something else.
Procrastinating well should be included in healthy habits for teens
When you think of healthy habits for teens, what comes to mind? Healthy eating, daily exercise, positive friendships–knowing how to take a break isn’t really in there, is it? But why shouldn’t it be? We all need breaks. Taking a break from something can actually make you more productive. If you’ve been working on a paper for an hour and you realize you’ve been working on the same sentence for 10 minutes, it’s better to take a break, rejuvenate your productivity, and come back to it than try to figure out that sentence for 30 minutes when you’ve written the others in under 2 minutes.
Being able to identify when this is happening and how to spend that break time should most definitely be included in the list of healthy habits for teens to develop. Though Duhigg’s task idea is very helpful, it won’t work for everyone. The important thing is to find something that is specifically relaxing for you–whether that’s reading, making art, or even doing the dishes.
Negative procrastination can cause anxiety
It’s not unheard of for procrastination to actually become a real issue. For some teens, it gets in the way of daily life by producing immense amounts of anxiety or disrupting school life. If this is the case, it may be time to seek out professional guidance on how to help your child understand and develop healthy habits for teens.
blueFire Wilderness can help
blueFire Wilderness is a wilderness therapy program for struggling teens, ages 11 to 17. We strive to teach each individual the healthy habits for teens that will help them succeed in life. Our students often grapple with coping with depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems.
For more information about how blueFire Wilderness can help your child develop healthy habits for teens, please call 1 (844) 413-1999 today!