In the musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Charlie has a book report due. He sings in a hesitant, scared voice: “If I start writing now…when I’m not really rested…it could upset my thinking which is not good at all…I’ll get a fresh start tomorrow…and it’s not due till Wednesday…so I’ll…have all of Tuesday unless…something should happen…Why does this always happen…I should be outside playing…getting fresh air and sunshine…I work best under pressure and there’ll be lots of pressure if I…wait till tomorrow…I should start writing now but if I…start writing now when I’m not really rested…it could upset my thinking…which is not good at all.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a version of this from a student!
I’m a procrastinator. I know it. “I can return that phone call later.” “There will be time to finish this task tomorrow…at least before this weekend.” Does this ring a bell? It’s a talk we all have with ourselves from time to time. Try to find someone who hasn’t procrastinated or grappled with putting off a task they know needs to be attended to. You will struggle to do so.
Surprisingly, there’s a scientific reason for this! Procrastination is so relatable, so universal, because the human brain is wired for it. Science explains that Charlie Brown’s struggle is sparked between two parts of the mind when it’s faced with a distasteful activity: a battle of the limbic system (the part of the brain that tells you to pull your hand away from a flame and avoid unpleasant tasks) and the prefrontal cortex (the internal “planner” that tells you to get the job done). When the limbic system wins, and that’s pretty often, the result is putting off for tomorrow what could (and should) be done today.
There are many great strategies for dealing with procrastination. Attack the hardest task when your energy is fresh and you give yourself the strongest chance of success. Doing otherwise can have a damaging domino effect. Putting off the dreaded item on your list saps your strength as you spend more time and energy dreading the task than it would have taken to get it done. Attack your biggest, most dreaded job first thing and the rest is downhill. Another trick to overpowering procrastination is to assess your day and your tasks at lunchtime. By waiting until the end of the day you’re not only out of time to do anything about it, but you feel as if you failed. Often you will hear me use the phrase, “It’s about what we can do, not what we can’t.” What I mean by that is to not look at a forest and say I’ll never get it done. See one tree and cut it down. If that’s too much, cut three branches. It’s about what you can do, not what you can’t. Finally, plan a “Get ‘er done” Day. Take that list of deeds and tasks that you’ve been putting off or ignoring, start out first thing in the morning and dedicate the day to checking them off your list. I find that the more I do the greater my momentum becomes. It’s pretty cool when after a bit you look back at that list you’ve been dreading and it’s disappeared.
Don’t allow procrastination to define you. Take charge of your tasks. No need to pick just one tactic. Have them all in your arsenal so you’re ready to handle whatever obstacle your battling brain might toss in your path.
(The full fight song is an "mp3" file that you can drop into iTunes and sync to your device. The ringtone is an "m4r" file that can be installed on an iPhone in the same way. If you have a different kind of device, you should be able to conduct an Internet search and determine how to install them.)
Raymond school district has several methods by which we contact parents regarding various unusual situations. For example, we inform families regarding planned early releases, weather events and any emergency situations which may arise. The following communication methods are used:
Planned Early Release—You will receive an automated phone call reminding you of an early release that is on the calendar. We also have a downloadable calendar.