Overcoming the Distractions That Influence Procrastination

“Tools” for both parents and their children.

Overcoming Procrastination

Procrastination can happen at any time. It is not enough to identify that you are avoiding a project. You need to take active steps to remove the temptation to procrastinate. By taking control of your schedule and school/work environment, you will be able to reduce the amount of time that you spend procrastinating each day. In turn, you will be able to improve your productivity and accomplish your goals. You will create more time to do the things you really want to do.

Remove Distractions

We are bombarded with distractions every day. These distractions are only temptations to procrastinate. By removing as many distractions as possible, you will be on track to overcoming procrastination.

Distractions to Avoid:

  • Clutter: Clean up your space at the end of each day, at home, school, and in the office. This will help to keep you focused, and you will not be tempted to clean during a project.
  • Email notification: Establish specific times to check email. Automatic notifications are distracting and cut into the time you spend on each project. Mealtime is an ideal time.
  • Telephone calls: Do not take all calls. Choose a time to return calls and texts.
  • Social Media: Schedule specific times to check on social media and texting.
  • Searching the “Web”: Only as a “tool” to do research or do work, all other Internet-based activities should be left until after all key tasks are completed.
  • Environment: Remove distractions such as video games, social media, card games, books, magazines, TVs etc., from your work or study area.

Start Small and Build

A habit of procrastination does not happen overnight. Equally, it is not possible to stop procrastinating overnight. Expecting an immediate change will only lead to disappointment. You need to start small and build in order to end procrastination once and for all. Begin by creating a daily “to do list” for your personal life. Include the daily tasks that you have trouble completing such as homework, studying, laundry, paying the bills, garbage or cleaning the kitchen. When you have stability in your personal schedule, it will be easier to address procrastination at work.

Create a daily schedule for work once you have broken down your larger tasks into smaller ones. As your productivity increases, you will be able to build upon your schedule. You will soon find that you are finishing tasks ahead of schedule and school.

Reward Yourself

People tend to procrastinate because they do not find certain tasks to be enjoyable. Procrastination becomes its own reward. Overcoming procrastination requires that you implement a reward system for completing tasks. Otherwise, you will revert to bad habits. Rewards should match the tasks completed. For example, taking 10 minutes on Snapchat could be a reward for completing an assignment or responding to all work-related email before 5pm. Similarly, going to a movie (after COVID times) could be a reward for completing larger more important tasks on time. When choosing rewards, you need to stay away from anything that you already have planned. For example, if you already have plans to go out with friends on a weekend, the outing will not serve as a reward. Using the appropriate rewards will improve motivation and help prevent procrastination.

Set Realistic Deadlines

Schedules and deadlines will help you stay focused and avoid procrastination. When setting deadlines, however, you must be realistic. Deadlines that are not realistic will actually contribute to anxiety, avoidance, and procrastination. If you do not give yourself a chance of completing a task on time, you will avoid it. If you are creating your own deadline, you should consider how long similar tasks have taken. Be honest and allow time for interruptions and emergencies. Do not create a schedule based on the best-case scenario. You are setting yourself up for failure. If you are assigned a deadline, determine if it is realistic. If the deadline is not realistic, you should attempt to negotiate a more realistic date. This negotiation should be done as quickly as possible to prevent complications later.

Dr. Eric J. Nach, Ph.D., M.Ed., A.S.D.C., is a Developmental and Behavioral Specialist. Since 2012 he has been the Founder and President of the Support for Students Growth Center in Boca Raton, FL, where he and his team of professionals provide the Social, Academic, Behavioral and Emotional support services for Children, Teens, Young Adults and their Families, In-person, Online, Nationwide and Worldwide.


Success is steady progress towards one’s personal goals…Jim Rohn.

Everyone has dreams and goals. Achieving personal and professional goals, however, requires planning and action. Learning how to manage time and set realistic goals will increase your or your child’s chance of success in every area of life. Following the advice in this brief article set you moving forward towards increasing your productivity and help you achieve your dreams.

Research has consistently demonstrated that when clear goals are associated with learning, it occurs more easily and rapidly.

Overcoming Procrastination

We all procrastinate from time to time. Procrastination occurs when we avoid tasks that we find unpleasant. Even if we perform other work-related tasks instead of the ones we dislike, we are guilty of procrastination. Unfortunately, procrastination will hinder our long-term success. With the proper skills, you can easily overcome procrastination.

Eat That Frog!

Mark Twain has a saying that applies to procrastination:

If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long!

Most goal oriented and successful people keep Mark Twain’s quote at the front of their mind. The frog is anything that you do not want to do. Basically, you should complete your dreaded tasks first. Getting these tasks out of the way will provide you with a sense of accomplishment and keep you from procrastinating. Always begin with the task that is the hardest and most significant, and you will be less tempted to procrastinate on other activities.

Just Do It

When you dislike a particular task, it is easy to procrastinate. Whether you spend time playing video games, checking email, sleeping excessively, or keeping up to date with everyone on your social media accounts, you are procrastinating. You need to do more than identify when you procrastinate. You need to discover why.

  • Discover your obstacles: What is it that you choose to do instead of your more important tasks?
  • Discover ways to remove obstacles: Ask for support, and take action. For example, you could turn off the Internet and your phone when the times comes to complete an important task.
  • Reward yourself: Make the task fun and use small rewards as incentive. (i.e. finish all your homework for the night, give yourself 15 minutes to enjoy checking in on your social media accounts or whatever you find enjoyable to do for those 15 minutes.

Once you have identified your “frogs” and obstacles, the only answer left is to take action. Make the tasks that you want to avoid part of your daily routine. Schedule the tasks into your calendar. Once they become habit, you will find them easier to accomplish. Once you have scheduled the time to accomplish your tasks, you must follow through. Resist the temptation to procrastinate with your favorite time waster. Just do it.

Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday…Don Marquis


Dr. Eric J. Nach, Ph.D., M.Ed., A.S.D.C., is a Developmental and Behavioral Specialist. Since 2012 has been the Founder and President of the Support for Students Growth Center in Boca Raton, FL, where they provide social, academic, behavioral and emotional support services Online, Nationwide and Worldwide.

Many young people have difficulties developing the executive functioning skills they desperately need. Those children with ADHD and many learning challenges have deficits in being able to solve problems, plan, organize and self-regulation. Even those children without an ADHD diagnosis may have heightened roadblocks and delays during COVID times and other times of stress.

What is “Executive Dysfunction”?

Children, teens and young adults, may experience distress when it comes to being self-aware, managing their inhibitions, with their non-verbal working memory, being able to self-regulate their emotions, as well as plan, initiate, follow through and solve problems.

Here’s are several ideas to help your child gaining more control over their executive functioning type challenges and taking strides toward independence along the way.

  • Accountability- Just because they may have difficulties, does not mean they are not responsible for themselves; we have to be responsible as well and see to it that they learn the “tools” the need to develop.
  • Write It Down- As our children get older, life becomes more challenging and they become responsible for much more of their lives. Many of our children think they can remember everything and will fight against making lists and writing things down.
  • Use Time Reminders- There are many different systems our kids can use to remind themselves of tasks to be done and when to start and stop preferred and non-preferred tasks. It is very easy for our children to lose track of time (time-blindness), so help them learn how to take charge of their time.
  • Offer Rewards, No, Not Bribes- Reward effort and consistency in adapting their behaviors. Rewarding is different than bribing and will become a key life strategy. Just think, how many of us would have gone to work today if we were not going to be rewarded with a paycheck… Bribery is coercion, it doesn’t last.
  • Make All Types OF Learning, Hands On- Many children, teens and young adults with and without ADHD are visual and kinesthetic learners, meaning they learn best by seeing and touching as they learn. Oral lessons, such as lectures (virtual classrooms) are the most challenging way to learn for most people. The next time you ask your kid to do something, try putting the request on paper or on a whiteboard, have them rewrite and rework it, quite often they will be more responsive.

These are just several suggestions to help your child, teen or young adult who is struggling during this time of a pandemic. Think “out -of-the-box” to help your kid develop the lifelong success skills they will value as they mature and become more independent. Those parents who learn more about why their children operate the way they do are often the happiest.

Dr. Eric J. Nach, Ph.D., M.Ed., A.S.D.C., is a Developmental and Behavioral Specialist and since 2012 has been the Founder and President of the Support for Students Growth Center in Boca Raton, FL, where they provide social, academic, behavioral and emotional support services online Nationwide and worldwide.

Since March of 2020 the idea of what college life will be like has become more confusing than ever.  For our young adults, will college be just another set of classes to take from their bedrooms? Are they going to be able to go away to college? How are they going to meet college peers? Are they going to be able to live in the dorms with peers or by themselves or not at all? These questions and many others are very real and uncertain since the start of the pandemic. I have been training, educating and counseling teens getting ready to transition into college life for three decades and have never experienced the type and amount of anxiety and confusion our soon to be high school graduates are experiencing. And don’t forget about the stress falling on the parents.

When talking to our high school seniors and juniors, many of them say they are feeling overwhelmed during these unsure times. They are struggling with managing their time, being organized and avoiding procrastination. Some are becoming resistant to help from their teachers, school counselors, parents and even peers and siblings. Resistance and anxiety are up and hopefulness and excitement about going to college are dramatically down.

What are parents to do, to help their children find their motivation?

1.    Identify Goals and Desires

Right now, your high school student may not be looking at college as a priority. The more stressed they are about the uncertainty of their future, the less motivated they will be to act to get prepared to go to college. Parents may want to help their child identify their goals and what they were before the pandemic took hold. Have discussion about different school options, what are the choices? Do they want help to apply to colleges and to talk to others who may attend the schools they desire to attend?

2. Help Them be Organized and Avoid Procrastination

If your child has even a little bit of motivation to finish this school year and to go to college next year, help them identify the tasks ahead. If they are resistant to your support, reach out and get professional help. Encourage them to search out colleges of interest, many are offering virtual tours and virtual opportunities to talk with staff at these colleges. If your child is willing, you can even do virtual searches with them, make a game or competition out of it.

Many people of all ages are struggling with managing their time and being organized when working and attending school virtually. Ask them to set-up daily routines and goals, be sure to include fun activities and share your organizational systems with them.

3. Be Supportive, But Not Overpowering

Let your child know that you understand their apprehension and stress. Share the methods you are using to adjust to these uncertain times. Make friendly suggestions of how they can better use their time, instead of hiding behind their “screens”. That does not mean no TikTok, or multi-player video games, but a balanced amount. Remember how you may have been as a child, parents that “push” their kids to much, do not typically get what they are shooting for. Be there for them and give them space.

4. Have Fun

What is it that makes your child smile? What hobbies do they have? What can you all do as a family? By creating routine and structure with all family members stress will usually be decreased. As most of us are spending an enormous amount of time with our families, we want to bring down the stress level for all family members. And don’t forget about our pets, they are family members also and are out of their routine. Lastly, this pandemic will not last forever, let love and kindness prevail and success is much more likely to develop.

Dr. Eric J. Nach, Ph.D., M.Ed., A.S.D.C., is a Developmental and Behavioral Specialist and since 2012 has been the Founder and President of the Support for Students Growth Center in Boca Raton, FL, where they provide social, academic, behavioral and emotional support services online Nationwide and world wide.

How to teach your child with ADHD to actually hear what you tell them

Students with ADHD almost always have difficulties following directions, both in and out of the classroom. Online classes result in even greater difficulties with following directions. When a child with ADHD does not accurately hear all the directions, it is virtually impossible for them to take all the needed actions and they will omit and make mistakes more often than their peers without ADHD. Additionally, processing and language issues often impact following direction abilities.

One of the challenging obstacles for our students with ADHD is that they “assume” they heard all the directions, when they likely did not. Therefore, they make errors and get easily frustrated when they do poorly on an assignment. At home the same thing happens. Parents may be telling their child with ADHD to do something, yet the child may miss part of the directions, the child may do the parts they did hear, yet the parents get upset because what was requested was only partially completed, if at all.

Some “quick tricks” to help our child with ADHD be able to follow directions.

  • When giving directions, look directly at the child and require them to be looking back at you.
  • Less words are better than using more words, keep the message very simple.
  • Color code or highlight key terms and directions.
  • Text or record directions.
  • When the child is writing down directions or an assignment, check it to make sure they correctly write the details.
  • When giving directions, put them in writing, whether it be on a piece of paper, a whiteboard, a text or email or some other creative way, don’t assume they heard you, check to be sure.
  • After giving directions, ask the child to restate the directions in their own words.
  • Parents who raise their voice, slightly (not yelling), when critical information is being presented, are consistently heard better.

And especially while at home, to help our children with ADHD do multi-step tasks:

  • Parents need to break down large jobs with multiple tasks into smaller, single steps.
  • Older students do best with a checklist, create daily checklists with the older child and have them be responsible for themselves.
  • Visual checklists may work well for younger children, use pictures to show the task you want them to perform and put them in the order you expect completion.
  • Rewards may be helpful to help stimulate internal and external motivation, keep them minimal. Rewarding is not bribing.
  • Making instructions simpler and clearer will help children with ADHD feel more responsible and become more successful at home and in school.
  • If the child gets distracted from doing a task, don’t get upset, but, redirect.

Children, teens and young adults with ADHD are not usually mean or bad, they simply struggle with attention, focus and in many cases self-regulation and executive functioning. We want them to learn how to be successful adults, therefore, it is our job to teach them the skills and strategies they will need to be happy and successful adults.

Dr. Eric J. Nach, Ph.D., M.Ed., A.S.D.C., is a Developmental and Behavioral Specialist and since 2012 has been the Founder and President of the Support for Students Growth Center in Boca Raton, FL, where they provide social, academic, behavioral and emotional support services online Nationwide.

Transitioning Back into School Online and at Home

Part 2

Daily routines and schedules are an essential part of success for entering back into a regular school routine. For those students who are going to be doing school online or in some form of a hybrid model, planning to enhance executive functions by helping the student be organized, plan ahead, initiate and follow through on assignments and much more is needed.  For those students who have challenges in being and remaining focused and those who struggle with learning, the development of a successful plan is critical.

Our students have entered a school year with many unknowns. As many students with ADHD, autism spectrum disorders and learning disorders may be limited in their ability to be flexible, parents want to build a predictable structure at home.

Several components of this home “structure” should be:

  1. Set the school day up according to the same amount of time a regular class may be, included short breaks into the day after each subject. If the student is mature enough, they can schedule the times of classes starting and ending and breaks into their phone or tablets.
  2. Establish planned physical activity. We want the student, who is learning at home even more than in a traditional school environment, to have the ability to get up and move around and to have a physical outlet to better help them manage their stress and anxiety.
  3. Preplan times for the students to interact with peers, if safe to do so, then in person by following guidelines including distancing, wearing masks and using hand sanitizer. If additional physical distancing is necessary then parents and more mature students may want to set up virtual “play dates” and “hangouts” with peers.
  4. Encourage students to have direct contact with their teachers and trusted other adults who support them, on a regular basis, schedule this into their weekly routine.
  5. Be as open as grade and age appropriate with the student. When changes need to occur, help the student plan for unexpected changes. Leave communication open, we want to encourage the student to advocate for themselves and ask for clarification when uncertain of situations.

Dr. Eric J. Nach, Ph.D., M.Ed., A.S.D.C., is a Developmental and Behavioral Specialist and since 2012 has been the Founder and President of the Support for Students Growth Center in Boca Raton, FL, where they provide social, academic, behavioral and emotional support services online Nationwide.

Transitioning Back into School Online and at Home

Part 1

Online schooling at home is not ideal for students who have attentional/focusing and learning challenges. The key to navigating the following school year for most students is going to take a combination of managing stress and anxiety and developing systems to be organized and manage their time. Parents will need to be proactive and plan to put in support systems, be realistic with expectations and be creative in how to help their children be successful with their academics, social, behavioral, physiological, spiritual and emotional development.

The 4th quarter of the 2019-2020 school year found much of the Country and much of the world shifting from in person classes to at home, online classes virtually overnight. Teachers were not trained or prepared nor were students and parents and no one knew what to expect, day-to-day. Fortunately, teachers and students and their peers did know each other already.

As we enter the 2020-2021 school year, most students and teachers will be starting the year off similar to the way last year ended, with a significant difference. The change is expectations, last year was a “patch job”, a “band-aid” with little expectations, this year teachers are better prepared and students and parents will be held even more accountable to “get to class” and get the work done, on time. However, the students and the teachers, mostly, will not know each other already.

Students that have IEP’s and 504 Plans or those who should have them are going to be exceptionally challenged going into this unique start of the school year. Students who learn a-bit differently than their peers will be unknown to their teachers. Parents and students will have to advocate to the teachers to get their needs met. Support services and accommodations and modifications provided in school along with auxiliary services will be challenging to obtain.

The next few blog articles I write over the coming weeks will have scientifically-based interventions and suggestions to help our students decrease anxiety, increase their self-advocacy skills and develop their executive functioning skills (time management, organization, avoiding procrastination, etc). In the meantime, I suggest parents and students work on connecting with teachers, provide the student a dedicated “school” area and parents, write your child’s teachers a 1-page letter giving them insight into your child’s strengths and challenges, open that line of communication NOW!

Dr. Eric J. Nach, Ph.D., M.Ed., A.S.D.C., is a Developmental and Behavioral Specialist and since 2012 has been the Founder and President of the Support For Students Growth Center in Boca Raton, FL, where they provide social, academic, behavioral and emotional support services online Nationwide.

FALL Social Skills, (ages 4 into 20's) , Adapted for Time of Pandemic

The COVID-19 Pandemic is not gone yet, so how can you, as a parent, support your child as they start all online college courses? First ask yourself this. Do they have a calm and quite place to attend class via zoom or another online platform? The environment your child works in is very important and can impact their performance in school. There are two ways this can go let’s look at them both.

Alexa is enrolled in her first year of college, virtually.

Algebra 1 is the first class that she will attend via zoom Monday’s and Wednesday’s from 10:30 AM until 12PM.

Alexa is sharing the desktop which is in the common area of the family’s home.

At 8:20 AM Alexa starts to get ready for class and heads to the desktop to see her little sister playing games and refuses to leave the desktop.

Alex ais now late to log on, irritated and distracted.

Can this scenario happen in your home? If yes, then let’s discuss some solutions. One of the most important things that students want from their parent’s is respect and dignity (even though they may not reciprocate well). Young adults want to know their parents respect their time and space. The best way to give them the support they need is by showing initiative to give it to them. For example, sit down with them and plan out a schedule that says when they need the family workspace to be open and empty for them to use. In the time that they are using the space, family and all other distractions or interruptions will not be permitted. Plan ahead to make this so.

Another common situation is

Jared has a zoom class Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 11:30AM to 1PM.

Jared’s mom comes barging into his room 5 minutes after his class is over to see if he is done with his work.

Jared responds with “I’m almost done with my notes from class I’m going to complete today’s assignment after I’m done.”

* 1 hour later *

Jared’s mom comes in to talk about how she is worried he is going to fail because she sees that he isn’t completing his work. She says that he isn’t dedicated to school.

Have you had this conversation with your child before? The one thing students need is to be treated more like adults. Students have made it clear that they want less support and more distance. No more hovering asking about every assignment they are given. They have been doing it in school alone for a while, don’t treat this any different. Your college-age child is grateful for everything you do, although they may not be able to show it. Sometimes both parent and young adult need to communicate their needs of one another.

For young adults attending college for the first time or taking classes online for the first time, who, could be characterized as having anxiety or depression, being “gifted”, have ADHD, autism or “Asperger’s”, or have learning, behavior, or emotional challenges, may have additional challenges in a virtual world. Help is available.

Your kids don’t deserve to struggle this school year. Visit our website, then call or email us to discover how the Support For Students Growth Center can help.