The Four Steps to Help Your Teen Stop Procrastinating and Be More Productive

Does your teen always wait until the last minute?

When teens procrastinate, they eventually feel pressed for time which activates the stress response. This is a good thing because it helps

propel them to take action. However, if they are constantly in the stressed state, then they get stuck in The Chronic Stress Loop and you will begin to see unwanted manifestations like sleep deprivation, poor grades, or angry outbursts.

There are many reasons why teens procrastinate, so uncovering the root cause of their procrastination will help you devise the perfect plan to help your teen stop procrastinating and be more productive.

Step # 1 Determine the Primary Stressor

The first step to help your teen break out of The Chronic Stress Loop is to help them determine the primary stressor or root cause. If a teen is procrastinating with their school work, the primary stressor might be:

  • The work is challenging and they already feel defeated before they begin.
  • They have trouble focusing, so when they sit down to do the work they get distracted.
  • The assignment has too many steps and they don’t know where to begin.

You can see that depending on the root cause of the unhealthy habit of procrastination, the solution will be different.

Step # 2 Determine Unwanted Manifestations

Once you have determined the root cause of the procrastination, help your teen see the link between procrastination and the unwanted manifestations that are presenting themselves. Some common unwanted manifestation in teens that procrastinate are:

  • Staying up late to finish assignments.
  • Yelling at their siblings over nothing because they are stressed about being behind.
  • Running out of time and not getting their work done.

Once you have established what your teen’s Chronic Stress Loop looks like, then it is time to pick healthier replacement habits.

Step # 3 Pick a Healthier Replacement Habit

As parents, we often have lots of great ideas on how to help our teen stop procrastinating. However, offering these suggestions in the midst of your teen’s procrastination might put them on the defensive.

Find a time to sit down with your teen and discuss how procrastinating is keeping them stuck in The Chronic Stress Loop. Help them see that procrastinating is leading to unwanted manifestations.

  • Ask them what they think would help them manage their time better.
  • Present them with some solutions that help solve the root cause of the stress.
  • Agree on the best habit or habits to try first.

Note: Whenever I introduce a new habit to one of my teen clients, I always begin the suggestion with, “Would you be open to trying _____?”

If you would like some support deciding on the best replacement habits for your teen, reach out to me in the Parenting Happy and Healthy Students Private Facebook Group here. I am happy to help.

Step #4 Devise a Support Plan

Now that you and your teen have picked healthier replacement habits to help them stop procrastinating, it is important to agree about how involved you will be in supporting the creation of this new habit.

If you feel they need more support to follow through, share what you think would be best. If they don’t agree, go with what they want for the first week. Then plan to meet in a week and devise a new support system if needed.

By agreeing on the level of support they would like ahead of time, your reminders will be welcome versus a nuisance.

Procrastination is an unhealthy habit that activates the stress response. While helping your teen learn how to manage their time better is the most important step to decreasing this stress, all teens would benefit from having a go-to stress relieving technique.

A life without stress is unrealistic, but learning how to handle stressful situations in a healthy way is attainable. Help your teen learn how to easily fit stress-reducing techniques into their day. Grab a copy of my My Top 5 Strategies to Lower Stress Instantly here.

Originally published at on March 8, 2018.