As children grow up and ascend up the education system, many parents of graduates from our school holiday programmes share that they are realizing that their kids are coming home later. While the reason varies from CCAs, events or outings with friends, but one thing lies in common: they are often too worn out to do anything else by the time they get home.
Here’s a personal story about how I was once like your child:
I was once part of that “busy” life. I held 3 CCAs and was constantly put in charge of organizing events in school. Back then, I was just in secondary 3. I had to juggle my commitments with school work and life. On most days it was challenging. I find myself coming home at 7pm in the evening with a pile of homework waiting for me. Exams were slowly looming but I had little to no awareness about it as my mind was too occupied by the day to day activities.
On the other hand, I was also fully aware of the days I would spend, instead of studying or catching up with work, scrolling through social media and playing games on my phone. As I got busier, these type of days were occurring more and more often. I would convince myself to take a break whenever the opportunity comes as a reward to have previously ‘worked hard’.
See, this happens to everyone. When we are feeling tired & worn out, it is natural to stay away from things we dislike (like studying when I was in Secondary school) and move over to what we like (playing or scrolling through social media to relax). Simply put, to procrastinate.
Here are the 3 stages of Procrastination that I have discovered through my experience:
Stage 1: Distraction.
I know that I was heavily distracted by my phone with the consistent pop ups of social media notifications, or even a single text from a friend that would lead to hours of messaging.
We can get distracted by anything and everything that is around us. It is what starts the loop of procrastination.
Stage 2: Deep Work
When I was using my phone. I get so closed up with it that I brush off anyone that attempted to talk to me.
Deep work is the moment when we get so absorbed into something that nothing else matters anymore. As the name suggests, this is usually used to describe work related happenings. However, many of our children are guilty of falling into deep work in their playtime. There are moments where our kids might have been so connected to the computer that they were disconnected to everything else around them. As parents, you might have had experiences like this: despite asking the same question a few times, you still do not get a response from your child.
Stage 3: Realization
After hours of talking to my friend, I hang up the phone, and only then realize that it was already 11pm. I have not done anything for the past 4 hours.
This is when our kids are almost snapping out of that procrastination loop but not quite there yet. Only when they realize they have done something totally unrelated to what they were supposed to do and only then, it becomes clear – that they have just spent a few hours procrastinating.
The truth is, everyone procrastinates at some point in time. In fact. most of us know what we need to do but only get to doing it when it gets too late or with little time left. What’s worse is most of our kids do not even recognize that they are falling into the procrastination loop. You can tell that they are genuinely shocked when you come home questioning their decisions to play with their phones and not get their work done or shower. Your kids are not shocked that you are home or angry (they are probably used to it by now), they are shocked that it is already so late and they genuinely did not realize it!
Darius Tan, Productivity Coach
Trainer of the Planning to Productivity Workshop