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How to Stop Being Lazy

Jodi Clarke, LPC/MHSP is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice. She specializes in relationships, anxiety, trauma and grief.

how to not be lazy to do homework

What to Ditch: Old Habits

What to start doing: new approaches, make good food choices, incorporate exercise, prioritize sleep, practice stress management, set boundaries, avoid comparisons.

Feeling lazy and unproductive is normal sometimes, but problems can arise when it happens often. The list of tasks still undone and issues not addressed can eventually affect self-image and confidence, which in turn can feed a lack of motivation. Here are a few tips and strategies to break the cycle and overcome laziness.

Press Play for Advice On Staying Motivated

This episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares how to stay motivated and focused even when you don't want to. Click below to listen now.

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What you might think of as "lazy" may just be a matter of switching your approach and getting rid of old, unhelpful habits that have kept you from feeling productive and achieving your goals. Here are several such habits:

  • Making your goals too big or complicated . If you give up before completing a task, it might not be laziness. Instead, you might have underestimated how much effort and time it will take to reach your goals.
  • Expecting yourself to be perfect . Instead, understand that the path toward your goal is most likely going to be full of twists, turns, and setbacks.
  • Listening to your inner critic . If the term "lazy" is part of your self-talk, many more negative and critical statements are probably coming from your inner critic , too. You may even bring out your inner critic in an attempt to motivate yourself. What happens then: Your critical voice focuses on your flaws and shortcomings, rather than strengths and positive attributes that could help you move forward.
  • Listening to criticism from others . Feedback from others helps shape your self-concept . Being called "lazy" can affect how you see yourself. Similarly, criticism of your efforts can cause self-doubt or discouragement.
  • Not creating a plan . When excited about a new goal, you might forget the importance of creating a plan. Without a roadmap to your goal, you might become overwhelmed and begin to feel aimless.

Here are achievable steps that can help you turn things around or stay on track with your goals:

  • Create small, attainable goals . Break that huge goal into smaller goals that will help you feel accomplished and motivated. As you consider the big picture, remember the key steps that will be needed to get there and write them down. If needed, break those down into even smaller or shorter-term goals. 
  • Take time to develop a plan . Reflect on your desires and goals, considering those small, attainable steps to get there. Be realistic about the amount of effort, time, money, help, or other factors involved in meeting this goal. Going into the process with an action plan will help you feel more confident and peaceful, as well as give you something to refer to when you feel discouraged or have a setback.
  • Focus on your strengths . If you're used to an inner critic that focuses on your flaws and shortcomings, take inventory of your strengths. Consider challenges you have faced and reflect on the personal strengths you used to get through them. If you still struggle to identify character strengths , ask friends or family what they see as your greatest strengths.
  • Celebrate small victories . Celebrate your victories as you accomplish small goals and overcome setbacks so you continue moving forward. The pride in meeting goals can help reinforce positive self-talk. Your sense of self-efficacy will increase with each accomplishment, which can help you find long-term success.
  • Recruit support . It's OK to ask for help. Connect with others in a positive, healthy way and share your experience; their encouragement and support can help you develop resiliency .

Taking care of our physical health can help set the stage for increased energy which, in turn, can allow us to put these other positive changes into action.  

Diet plays a significant role in energy levels. Processed convenience foods are quick to grab on the go, but they usually don't offer enough nutrition to keep your metabolic fires burning well.

Instead, go for protein to maintain stable blood sugar levels and avoid energy crashes throughout the day. Nosh on these:

  • Dark leafy greens

But avoid these:

  • French fries
  • Sugary drinks

Eating small meals throughout the day can help you maintain steady energy levels, whereas large, heavy meals can cause sluggishness.

Research has shown that even just low to moderate levels of exercise can have a significant impact on energy, helping to reduce fatigue. Ways to incorporate more exercise include:

  • Walking your dog
  • Jogging with a friend
  • Hiking with a group
  • Attending a group fitness class
  • Trying a yoga class

When It's Not Simple Laziness

Sometimes, a lack of motivation can signal an underlying condition such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or depression . Consult your healthcare provider if you're feeling less productive than usual for an extended period to rule out (or address) any physical or psychological problems.

If you tend to feel lazy, you might think you're getting too much sleep or napping too much. Create and stick to a consistent sleep care routine . It can help you stick to your daytime schedule and, in turn, help you feel more balanced and energized to take on tasks and feel more productive.

Being constantly overscheduled, with demands in multiple areas of life, can leave you physically and emotionally drained. This exhaustion can make you seem lazy when you're actually stressed and overwhelmed.

A significant element of stress management is using time wisely. Saying "yes" to your coworkers, partner, children, and friends is easy, but fulfilling commitments can be difficult.

Look at how you spend your time. Take stock of unfinished tasks on your to-do list. Consider where you can politely say "no" so that you can use that time for things that need your attention and energy.

If the idea of setting boundaries is new to you, start by giving yourself permission to do it. Then, start with small things.

Being afraid of how people will respond to you is OK. Your goal is to improve self-care, increase energy, and feel empowered to tackle the tasks and goals that are important to you. Creating time for yourself is key, and setting small boundaries around your time will help you do just that.

It's natural to look around and think everyone else is getting it right except you. Don't allow yourself to get caught in the destructive, distracting habit of comparing yourself to others .

A Word From Verywell

Taking small steps toward better self-care, increased energy, improved goals, and healthy boundary-setting can help you stop feeling lazy in no time. Prioritizing your progress and moving forward consistently are the keys to long-term change, and you can begin right now with the ideas here.

Ntoumanis N, Healy LC, Sedikides C, Smith AL, Duda JL. Self-regulatory responses to unattainable goals: the role of goal motives . Self Identity . 2014;13(5):594-612. doi:10.1080/15298868.2014.889033

Kelly JD. Your best life: perfectionism--the bane of happiness . Clin Orthop Relat Res . 2015;473(10):3108-11. doi:10.1007/s11999-015-4279-9

Wright S. Silence your inner critic . Nurs Stand . 2014;28(44):28-9. doi:10.7748/ns.28.44.28.s31

Hardavella G, Aamli-gaagnat A, Saad N, Rousalova I, Sreter KB. How to give and receive feedback effectively . Breathe (Sheff). 2017;13(4):327-333. doi:10.1183/20734735.009917

Lenzen SA, Daniëls R, Van bokhoven MA, Van der weijden T, Beurskens A. Disentangling self-management goal setting and action planning: A scoping review . PLoS ONE . 2017;12(11):e0188822. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0188822

Proyer RT, Gander F, Wellenzohn S, Ruch W. Strengths-based positive psychology interventions: a randomized placebo-controlled online trial on long-term effects for a signature strengths- vs. a lesser strengths-intervention . Front Psychol . 2015;6:456. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00456

Zlomuzica A, Preusser F, Schneider S, Margraf J. Increased perceived self-efficacy facilitates the extinction of fear in healthy participants . Front Behav Neurosci . 2015;9:270. doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00270

Sjøgaard G, Christensen JR, Justesen JB, et al. Exercise is more than medicine: The working age population's well-being and productivity . J Sport Health Sci . 2016;5(2):159-165. doi:10.1016/j.jshs.2016.04.004

Harvard Health Publishing. Eating to boost energy .

Cleveland Clinic. How small, frequent meals can help athletes keep energy high . Published June 4, 2018.

Puetz TW, Flowers SS, O'connor PJ. A randomized controlled trial of the effect of aerobic exercise training on feelings of energy and fatigue in sedentary young adults with persistent fatigue . Psychother Psychosom . 2008;77(3):167-74. doi:10.5312/wjo.v6.i10.762

Takahashi M. Prioritizing sleep for healthy work schedules . J Physiol Anthropol . 2012;31:6. doi:10.1159/000116610

Williams-Nickelson C. Avoiding overcommitment . American Psychological Association.

Bergagna E, Tartaglia S. Self-esteem, social comparison, and Facebook use . Eur J Psychol . 2018;14(4):831-845. doi:10.5964/ejop.v14i4.1592

By Jodi Clarke, MA, LPC/MHSP Jodi Clarke, LPC/MHSP is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice. She specializes in relationships, anxiety, trauma and grief.

Daniel Wong

30 Tips to Stop Procrastinating and Find Motivation to Do Homework

Updated on June 6, 2023 By Daniel Wong 44 Comments


To stop procrastinating on homework, you need to find motivation to do the homework in the first place.

But first, you have to overcome feeling too overwhelmed to even start.

You know what it feels like when everything hits you at once, right?

You have three tests to study for and a math assignment due tomorrow.

And you’ve got a history report due the day after.

You tell yourself to get down to work. But with so much to do, you feel overwhelmed.

So you procrastinate.

You check your social media feed, watch a few videos, and get yourself a drink. But you know that none of this is bringing you closer to getting the work done.

Does this sound familiar?

Don’t worry – you are not alone. Procrastination is a problem that everyone faces, but there are ways around it.

By following the tips in this article, you’ll be able to overcome procrastination and consistently find the motivation to do the homework .

So read on to discover 30 powerful tips to help you stop procrastinating on your homework.

Enter your email below to download a PDF summary of this article. The PDF contains all the tips found here, plus  3 exclusive bonus tips that you’ll only find in the PDF.

How to stop procrastinating and motivate yourself to do your homework.

Procrastination when it comes to homework isn’t just an issue of laziness or a lack of motivation .

The following tips will help you to first address the root cause of your procrastination and then implement strategies to keep your motivation levels high.

1. Take a quiz to see how much you procrastinate.

The first step to changing your behavior is to become more self-aware.

How often do you procrastinate? What kinds of tasks do you tend to put off? Is procrastination a small or big problem for you?

To answer these questions, I suggest that you take this online quiz designed by Psychology Today .

2. Figure out why you’re procrastinating.

Procrastination is a complex issue that involves multiple factors.

Stop thinking of excuses for not doing your homework , and figure out what’s keeping you from getting started.

Are you procrastinating because:

  • You’re not sure you’ll be able to solve all the homework problems?
  • You’re subconsciously rebelling against your teachers or parents?
  • You’re not interested in the subject or topic?
  • You’re physically or mentally tired?
  • You’re waiting for the perfect time to start?
  • You don’t know where to start?

Once you’ve identified exactly why you’re procrastinating, you can pick out the tips in this article that will get to the root of the problem.

3. Write down what you’re procrastinating on.

Students tend to procrastinate when they’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

But you might be surprised to discover that simply by writing down the specific tasks you’re putting off, the situation will feel more manageable.

It’s a quick solution, and it makes a real difference.

Give it a try and you’ll be less likely to procrastinate.

4. Put your homework on your desk.


Here’s an even simpler idea.

Many times, the hardest part of getting your homework done is getting started.

It doesn’t require a lot of willpower to take out your homework and put it on your desk.

But once it’s sitting there in front of you, you’ll be much closer to actually getting down to work.

5. Break down the task into smaller steps.

This one trick will make any task seem more manageable.

For example, if you have a history report to write, you could break it down into the following steps:

  • Read the history textbook
  • Do online research
  • Organize the information
  • Create an outline
  • Write the introduction
  • Write the body paragraphs
  • Write the conclusion
  • Edit and proofread the report

Focus on just one step at a time. This way, you won’t need to motivate yourself to write the whole report at one go.

This is an important technique to use if you want to study smart and get more done .

6. Create a detailed timeline with specific deadlines.

As a follow-up to Point #5, you can further combat procrastination by creating a timeline with specific deadlines.

Using the same example above, I’ve added deadlines to each of the steps:

  • Jan 30 th : Read the history textbook
  • Feb 2 nd : Do online research
  • Feb 3 rd : Organize the information
  • Feb 5 th : Create an outline
  • Feb 8 th : Write the introduction
  • Feb 12 th : Write the body paragraphs
  • Feb 14 th : Write the conclusion
  • Feb 16 th : Edit and proofread the report

Assigning specific dates creates a sense of urgency, which makes it more likely that you’ll keep to the deadlines.

7. Spend time with people who are focused and hardworking.

Jim Rohn famously said that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

If you hang out with people who are motivated and hardworking, you’ll become more like them.

Likewise, if you hang out with people who continually procrastinate, you’ll become more like them too.

Motivation to do homework naturally increases when you surround yourself with the right people.

So choose your friends wisely. Find homework buddies who will influence you positively to become a straight-A student who leads a balanced life.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun! It just means that you and your friends know when it’s time to get down to work and when it’s time to enjoy yourselves.

8. Tell at least two or three people about the tasks you plan to complete.

Group of students

When you tell others about the tasks you intend to finish, you’ll be more likely to follow through with your plans.

This is called “accountability,” and it kicks in because you want to be seen as someone who keeps your word.

So if you know about this principle, why not use it to your advantage?

You could even ask a friend to be your accountability buddy. At the beginning of each day, you could text each other what you plan to work on that day.

Then at the end of the day, you could check in with each other to see if things went according to plan.

9. Change your environment .

Maybe it’s your environment that’s making you feel sluggish.

When you’re doing your homework, is your super-comfortable bed just two steps away? Or is your distracting computer within easy reach?

If your environment is part of your procrastination problem, then change it.

Sometimes all you need is a simple change of scenery. Bring your work to the dining room table and get it done there. Or head to a nearby café to complete your report.

10. Talk to people who have overcome their procrastination problem.

If you have friends who consistently win the battle with procrastination, learn from their experience.

What was the turning point for them? What tips and strategies do they use? What keeps them motivated?

Find all this out, and then apply the information to your own situation.

11. Decide on a reward to give yourself after you complete your task.

“Planned” rewards are a great way to motivate yourself to do your homework.

The reward doesn’t have to be something huge.

For instance, you might decide that after you finish 10 questions of your math homework, you get to watch your favorite TV show.

Or you might decide that after reading one chapter of your history textbook, you get to spend 10 minutes on Facebook.

By giving yourself a reward, you’ll feel more motivated to get through the task at hand.

12. Decide on a consequence you’ll impose on yourself if you don’t meet the deadline.


It’s important that you decide on what the consequence will be before you start working toward your goal.

As an example, you could tell your younger brother that you’ll give him $1 for every deadline you don’t meet (see Point #6).

Or you could decide that you’ll delete one game from your phone for every late homework submission.

Those consequences would probably be painful enough to help you get down to work, right?

13. Visualize success.

Take 30 seconds and imagine how you’ll feel when you finish your work.

What positive emotions will you experience?

Will you feel a sense of satisfaction from getting all your work done?

Will you relish the extra time on your hands when you get your homework done fast and ahead of time?

This simple exercise of visualizing success may be enough to inspire you to start doing your assignment.

14. Visualize the process it will take to achieve that success.

Even more important than visualizing the outcome is visualizing the process it will take to achieve that outcome.

Research shows that focusing on the process is critical to success. If you’re procrastinating on a task, take a few moments to think about what you’ll need to do to complete it.

Visualize the following:

  • What resources you’ll need
  • Who you can turn to for help
  • How long the task will take
  • Where you’ll work on the task
  • The joy you’ll experience as you make progress

This kind of visualization is like practice for your mind.

Once you understand what’s necessary to achieve your goal, you’ll find that it’s much easier to get down to work with real focus. This is key to doing well in school .

15. Write down why you want to complete the task.


You’ll be more motivated when you’re clear about why you want to accomplish something.

To motivate yourself to do your homework, think about all the ways in which it’s a meaningful task.

So take a couple of minutes to write down the reasons. Here are some possible ones:

  • Learn useful information
  • Master the topic
  • Enjoy a sense of accomplishment when you’ve completed the task
  • Become a more focused student
  • Learn to embrace challenges
  • Fulfill your responsibility as a student
  • Get a good grade on the assignment

16. Write down the negative feelings you’ll have if you don’t complete the task.

If you don’t complete the assignment, you might feel disappointed or discouraged. You might even feel as if you’ve let your parents or your teacher – or even yourself – down.

It isn’t wise to dwell on these negative emotions for too long. But by imagining how you’ll feel if you don’t finish the task, you’ll realize how important it is that you get to work.

17. Do the hardest task first.

Most students will choose to do the easiest task first, rather than the hardest one. But this approach isn’t effective because it leaves the worst for last.

It’s more difficult to find motivation to do homework in less enjoyable subjects.

As Brian Tracy says , “Eat that frog!” By this, he means that you should always get your most difficult task out of the way at the beginning of the day.

If math is your least favorite subject, force yourself to complete your math homework first.

After doing so, you’ll feel a surge of motivation from knowing it’s finished. And you won’t procrastinate on your other homework because it will seem easier in comparison.

(On a separate note, check out these tips on how to get better at math if you’re struggling.)

18. Set a timer when doing your homework.

I recommend that you use a stopwatch for every homework session. (If you prefer, you could also use this online stopwatch or the Tomato Timer .)

Start the timer at the beginning of the session, and work in 30- to 45-minute blocks.

Using a timer creates a sense of urgency, which will help you fight off your urge to procrastinate.

When you know you only have to work for a short session, it will be easier to find motivation to complete your homework.

Tell yourself that you need to work hard until the timer goes off, and then you can take a break. (And then be sure to take that break!)

19. Eliminate distractions.

Here are some suggestions on how you can do this:

  • Delete all the games and social media apps on your phone
  • Turn off all notifications on your phone
  • Mute your group chats
  • Archive your inactive chats
  • Turn off your phone, or put it on airplane mode
  • Put your phone at least 10 feet away from you
  • Turn off the Internet access on your computer
  • Use an app like Freedom to restrict your Internet usage
  • Put any other distractions (like food, magazines and books unrelated to your homework) at the other end of the room
  • Unplug the TV
  • Use earplugs if your surroundings are noisy

20. At the start of each day, write down the two to three Most Important Tasks (MITs) you want to accomplish.

Writing a list

This will enable you to prioritize your tasks. As Josh Kaufman explains , a Most Important Task (MIT) is a critical task that will help you to get significant results down the road.

Not all tasks are equally important. That’s why it’s vital that you identify your MITs, so that you can complete those as early in the day as possible.

What do you most need to get done today? That’s an MIT.

Get to work on it, then feel the satisfaction that comes from knowing it’s out of the way.

21. Focus on progress instead of perfection.

Perfectionism can destroy your motivation to do homework and keep you from starting important assignments.

Some students procrastinate because they’re waiting for the perfect time to start.

Others do so because they want to get their homework done perfectly. But they know this isn’t really possible – so they put off even getting started.

What’s the solution?

To focus on progress instead of perfection.

There’s never a perfect time for anything. Nor will you ever be able to complete your homework perfectly. But you can do your best, and that’s enough.

So concentrate on learning and improving, and turn this into a habit that you implement whenever you study .

22. Get organized.

Procrastination is common among students who are disorganized.

When you can’t remember which assignment is due when or which tests you have coming up, you’ll naturally feel confused. You’ll experience school- and test-related stress .

This, in turn, will lead to procrastination.

That’s why it’s crucial that you get organized. Here are some tips for doing this:

  • Don’t rely on your memory ; write everything down
  • Keep a to-do list
  • Use a student planner
  • Use a calendar and take note of important dates like exams, project due dates, school holidays , birthdays, and family events
  • At the end of each day, plan for the following day
  • Use one binder or folder for each subject or course
  • Do weekly filing of your loose papers, notes, and old homework
  • Throw away all the papers and notes you no longer need

23. Stop saying “I have to” and start saying “I choose to.”

When you say things like “I have to write my essay” or “I have to finish my science assignment,” you’ll probably feel annoyed. You might be tempted to complain about your teachers or your school .

What’s the alternative?

To use the phrase “I choose to.”

The truth is, you don’t “have” to do anything.

You can choose not to write your essay; you’ll just run the risk of failing the class.

You can choose not to do your science assignment; you’ll just need to deal with your angry teacher.

When you say “I choose to do my homework,” you’ll feel empowered. This means you’ll be more motivated to study and to do what you ought to.

24. Clear your desk once a week.

Organized desk

Clutter can be demotivating. It also causes stress , which is often at the root of procrastination.

Hard to believe? Give it a try and see for yourself.

By clearing your desk, you’ll reduce stress and make your workspace more organized.

So set a recurring appointment to organize your workspace once a week for just 10 minutes. You’ll receive huge benefits in the long run!

25. If a task takes two minutes or less to complete, do it now.

This is a principle from David Allen’s bestselling book, Getting Things Done .

You may notice that you tend to procrastinate when many tasks pile up. The way to prevent this from happening is to take care of the small but important tasks as soon as you have time.

Here are some examples of small two-minute tasks that you should do once you have a chance:

  • Replying to your project group member’s email
  • Picking up anything on the floor that doesn’t belong there
  • Asking your parents to sign a consent form
  • Filing a graded assignment
  • Making a quick phone call
  • Writing a checklist
  • Sending a text to schedule a meeting
  • Making an online purchase that doesn’t require further research

26. Finish one task before starting on the next.

You aren’t being productive when you switch between working on your literature essay, social studies report, and physics problem set – while also intermittently checking your phone.

Research shows that multitasking is less effective than doing one thing at a time. Multitasking may even damage your brain !

When it comes to overcoming procrastination, it’s better to stick with one task all the way through before starting on the next one.

You’ll get a sense of accomplishment when you finish the first assignment, which will give you a boost of inspiration as you move on to the next one.

27. Build your focus gradually.

You can’t win the battle against procrastination overnight; it takes time. This means that you need to build your focus progressively.

If you can only focus for 10 minutes at once, that’s fine. Start with three sessions of 10 minutes a day. After a week, increase it to three sessions of 15 minutes a day, and so on.

As the weeks go by, you’ll become far more focused than when you first started. And you’ll soon see how great that makes you feel.

28. Before you start work, write down three things you’re thankful for.


Gratitude improves your psychological health and increases your mental strength .

These factors are linked to motivation. The more you practice gratitude, the easier it will be to find motivation to do your homework. As such, it’s less likely that you’ll be a serial procrastinator.

Before you get down to work for the day, write down three things you’re thankful for. These could be simple things like good health, fine weather, or a loving family.

You could even do this in a “gratitude journal,” which you can then look back on whenever you need a shot of fresh appreciation for the good things in your life.

Either way, this short exercise will get you in the right mindset to be productive.

29. Get enough sleep.

For most people, this means getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. And teenagers need 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night to function optimally.

What does sleep have to do with procrastination?

More than you might realize.

It’s almost impossible to feel motivated when you’re tired. And when you’re low on energy, your willpower is depleted too.

That’s why you give in to the temptation of Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube videos more easily when you’re sleep-deprived.

Here are ways to get more sleep , and sleep better too:

  • Create a bedtime routine
  • Go to sleep at around the same time every night
  • Set a daily alarm as a reminder to go to bed
  • Exercise regularly (but not within a few hours of bedtime)
  • Make your bedroom as dark as possible
  • Remove or switch off all electronic devices before bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine at least six hours before bedtime
  • Use an eye mask and earplugs

30. Schedule appointments with yourself to complete your homework.

These appointments are specific blocks of time reserved for working on a report, assignment, or project. Scheduling appointments is effective because it makes the task more “official,” so you’re more likely to keep the appointment.

For example, you could schedule appointments such as:

  • Jan 25 th , 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm: Math assignment
  • Jan 27 th , 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Online research for social studies project
  • Jan 28 th , 4:30 pm – 5:00 pm: Write introduction for English essay

Transform homework procrastination into homework motivation

Procrastination is a problem we all face.

But given that you’ve read all the way to here, I know you’re committed to overcoming this problem.

And now that you’re armed with these tips, you have all the tools you need to become more disciplined and focused .

By the way, please don’t feel as if you need to implement all the tips at once, because that would be too overwhelming.

Instead, I recommend that you focus on just a couple of tips a week, and make gradual progress. No rush!

Over time, you’ll realize that your habit of procrastination has been replaced by the habit of getting things done.

Now’s the time to get started on that process of transformation. 🙂

Like this article? Please share it with your friends.

Images: Student and books , Homework , Group of students , Consequences , Why , Writing a list , Organized desk , Gratitude

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January 19, 2016 at 11:53 am

Ur tips are rlly helpful. Thnkyou ! 🙂

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January 19, 2016 at 1:43 pm

You’re welcome 🙂

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August 29, 2018 at 11:21 am

Thanks very much

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February 19, 2019 at 1:38 pm

The funny thing is while I was reading the first few steps of this article I was procrastinating on my homework….

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November 12, 2019 at 12:44 pm

same here! but now I actually want to get my stuff done… huh

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December 4, 2022 at 11:35 pm

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May 30, 2023 at 6:26 am

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October 25, 2023 at 11:35 am

fr tho i totally was but now I’m actually going to get started haha

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June 6, 2020 at 6:04 am

I love your articles

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January 21, 2016 at 7:07 pm

Thanks soo much. It’s almost like you could read my mind- when I felt so overwhelmed with the workload heap I had created for myself by procrastination, I know feel very motivated to tackle it out completely and replace that bad habit with the wonderful tips mentioned here! 🙂

January 21, 2016 at 8:04 pm

I’m glad to help 🙂

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January 25, 2016 at 3:09 pm

You have shared great tips here. I especially like the point “Write down why you want to complete the task” because it is helpful to make us more motivated when we are clear about our goals

January 25, 2016 at 4:51 pm

Glad that you found the tips useful, John!

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January 29, 2016 at 1:22 am

Thank you very much for your wonderful tips!!! ☺☺☺

January 29, 2016 at 10:41 am

It’s my joy to help, Kabir 🙂

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February 3, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Always love your articles. Keep them up 🙂

February 3, 2016 at 1:21 pm

Thanks, Matthew 🙂

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February 4, 2016 at 1:40 pm

There are quite a lot of things that you need to do in order to come out with flying colors while studying in a university away from your homeland. Procrastinating on homework is one of the major mistakes committed by students and these tips will help you to avoid them all and make yourself more efficient during your student life.

February 4, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Completely agreed, Leong Siew.

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October 5, 2018 at 12:52 am

Wow! thank you very much, I love it .

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November 2, 2018 at 10:45 am

You are helping me a lot.. thank you very much….😊

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November 6, 2018 at 5:19 pm

I’m procrastinating by reading this

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November 29, 2018 at 10:21 am

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January 8, 2021 at 3:38 am

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March 3, 2019 at 9:12 am

Daniel, your amazing information and advice, has been very useful! Please keep up your excellent work!

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April 12, 2019 at 11:12 am

We should stop procrastinating.

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September 28, 2019 at 5:19 pm

Thank you so much for the tips:) i’ve been procrastinating since i started high schools and my grades were really bad “F” but the tips have made me a straight A student again.

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January 23, 2020 at 7:43 pm

Thanks for the tips, Daniel! They’re really useful! 😁

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April 10, 2020 at 2:15 pm

I have always stood first in my class. But procrastination has always been a very bad habit of mine which is why I lost marks for late submission .As an excuse for finding motivation for studying I would spend hours on the phone and I would eventually procrastinate. So I tried your tips and tricks today and they really worked.i am so glad and thankful for your help. 🇮🇳Love from India🇮🇳

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April 15, 2020 at 11:16 am

Well I’m gonna give this a shot it looks and sounds very helpful thank you guys I really needed this

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April 16, 2020 at 9:48 pm

Daniel, your amazing information and advice, has been very useful! keep up your excellent work! May you give more useful content to us.

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May 6, 2020 at 5:03 pm

nice article thanks for your sharing.

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May 20, 2020 at 4:49 am

Thank you so much this helped me so much but I was wondering about like what if you just like being lazy and stuff and don’t feel like doing anything and you don’t want to tell anyone because you might annoy them and you just don’t want to add your problems and put another burden on theirs

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July 12, 2020 at 1:55 am

I’ve read many short procrastination tip articles and always thought they were stupid or overlooking the actual problem. ‘do this and this’ or that and that, and I sit there thinking I CAN’T. This article had some nice original tips that I actually followed and really did make me feel a bit better. Cheers, diving into what will probably be a 3 hour case study.

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August 22, 2020 at 10:14 pm

Nicely explain each tips and those are practical thanks for sharing. Dr.Achyut More

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November 11, 2020 at 12:34 pm

Thanks a lot! It was very helpful!

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November 15, 2020 at 9:11 am

I keep catching myself procrastinating today. I started reading this yesterday, but then I realized I was procrastinating, so I stopped to finish it today. Thank you for all the great tips.

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November 30, 2020 at 5:15 pm

Woow this is so great. Thanks so much Daniel

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December 3, 2020 at 3:13 am

These tips were very helpful!

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December 18, 2020 at 11:54 am

Procrastination is a major problem of mine, and this, this is very helpful. It is very motivational, now I think I can complete my work.

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December 28, 2020 at 2:44 pm

Daniel Wong: When you’re doing your homework, is your super-comfortable bed just two steps away? Me: Nope, my super-comfortable bed is one step away. (But I seriously can’t study anywhere else. If I go to the dining table, my mum would be right in front of me talking loudly on the phone with colleagues and other rooms is an absolute no. My mum doesn’t allow me to go outside. Please give me some suggestions. )

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September 19, 2022 at 12:14 pm

I would try and find some noise cancelling headphones to play some classical music or get some earbuds to ignore you mum lol

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March 1, 2021 at 5:46 pm

Thank you very much. I highly appreciate it.

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May 12, 2023 at 3:38 am

This is great advice. My little niece is now six years old and I like to use those nice cheap child friendly workbooks with her. This is done in order to help her to learn things completely on her own. I however prefer to test her on her own knowledge however. After a rather quick demonstration in the lesson I then tend to give her two simple questions to start off with. And it works a treat. Seriously. I love it. She loves it. The exam questions are for her to answer on her own on a notepad. If she can, she will receive a gold medal and a box of sweets. If not she only gets a plastic toy. We do this all the time to help her understand. Once a week we spend up to thirty minutes in a math lesson on this technique for recalling the basic facts. I have had a lot of great success with this new age technique. So I’m going to carry on with it for now.

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Choose Your Test

Sat / act prep online guides and tips, how to do homework: 15 expert tips and tricks.

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Everyone struggles with homework sometimes, but if getting your homework done has become a chronic issue for you, then you may need a little extra help. That’s why we’ve written this article all about how to do homework. Once you’re finished reading it, you’ll know how to do homework (and have tons of new ways to motivate yourself to do homework)!

We’ve broken this article down into a few major sections. You’ll find:

  • A diagnostic test to help you figure out why you’re struggling with homework
  • A discussion of the four major homework problems students face, along with expert tips for addressing them 
  • A bonus section with tips for how to do homework fast

By the end of this article, you’ll be prepared to tackle whatever homework assignments your teachers throw at you . 

So let’s get started! 


How to Do Homework: Figure Out Your Struggles 

Sometimes it feels like everything is standing between you and getting your homework done. But the truth is, most people only have one or two major roadblocks that are keeping them from getting their homework done well and on time. 

The best way to figure out how to get motivated to do homework starts with pinpointing the issues that are affecting your ability to get your assignments done. That’s why we’ve developed a short quiz to help you identify the areas where you’re struggling. 

Take the quiz below and record your answers on your phone or on a scrap piece of paper. Keep in mind there are no wrong answers! 

1. You’ve just been assigned an essay in your English class that’s due at the end of the week. What’s the first thing you do?

A. Keep it in mind, even though you won’t start it until the day before it’s due  B. Open up your planner. You’ve got to figure out when you’ll write your paper since you have band practice, a speech tournament, and your little sister’s dance recital this week, too.  C. Groan out loud. Another essay? You could barely get yourself to write the last one!  D. Start thinking about your essay topic, which makes you think about your art project that’s due the same day, which reminds you that your favorite artist might have just posted to Instagram...so you better check your feed right now. 

2. Your mom asked you to pick up your room before she gets home from work. You’ve just gotten home from school. You decide you’ll tackle your chores: 

A. Five minutes before your mom walks through the front door. As long as it gets done, who cares when you start?  B. As soon as you get home from your shift at the local grocery store.  C. After you give yourself a 15-minute pep talk about how you need to get to work.  D. You won’t get it done. Between texts from your friends, trying to watch your favorite Netflix show, and playing with your dog, you just lost track of time! 

3. You’ve signed up to wash dogs at the Humane Society to help earn money for your senior class trip. You: 

A. Show up ten minutes late. You put off leaving your house until the last minute, then got stuck in unexpected traffic on the way to the shelter.  B. Have to call and cancel at the last minute. You forgot you’d already agreed to babysit your cousin and bake cupcakes for tomorrow’s bake sale.  C. Actually arrive fifteen minutes early with extra brushes and bandanas you picked up at the store. You’re passionate about animals, so you’re excited to help out! D. Show up on time, but only get three dogs washed. You couldn’t help it: you just kept getting distracted by how cute they were!

4. You have an hour of downtime, so you decide you’re going to watch an episode of The Great British Baking Show. You: 

A. Scroll through your social media feeds for twenty minutes before hitting play, which means you’re not able to finish the whole episode. Ugh! You really wanted to see who was sent home!  B. Watch fifteen minutes until you remember you’re supposed to pick up your sister from band practice before heading to your part-time job. No GBBO for you!  C. You finish one episode, then decide to watch another even though you’ve got SAT studying to do. It’s just more fun to watch people make scones.  D. Start the episode, but only catch bits and pieces of it because you’re reading Twitter, cleaning out your backpack, and eating a snack at the same time.

5. Your teacher asks you to stay after class because you’ve missed turning in two homework assignments in a row. When she asks you what’s wrong, you say: 

A. You planned to do your assignments during lunch, but you ran out of time. You decided it would be better to turn in nothing at all than submit unfinished work.  B. You really wanted to get the assignments done, but between your extracurriculars, family commitments, and your part-time job, your homework fell through the cracks.  C. You have a hard time psyching yourself to tackle the assignments. You just can’t seem to find the motivation to work on them once you get home.  D. You tried to do them, but you had a hard time focusing. By the time you realized you hadn’t gotten anything done, it was already time to turn them in. 

Like we said earlier, there are no right or wrong answers to this quiz (though your results will be better if you answered as honestly as possible). Here’s how your answers break down: 

  • If your answers were mostly As, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is procrastination. 
  • If your answers were mostly Bs, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is time management. 
  • If your answers were mostly Cs, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is motivation. 
  • If your answers were mostly Ds, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is getting distracted. 

Now that you’ve identified why you’re having a hard time getting your homework done, we can help you figure out how to fix it! Scroll down to find your core problem area to learn more about how you can start to address it. 

And one more thing: you’re really struggling with homework, it’s a good idea to read through every section below. You may find some additional tips that will help make homework less intimidating. 


How to Do Homework When You’re a Procrastinator  

Merriam Webster defines “procrastinate” as “to put off intentionally and habitually.” In other words, procrastination is when you choose to do something at the last minute on a regular basis. If you’ve ever found yourself pulling an all-nighter, trying to finish an assignment between periods, or sprinting to turn in a paper minutes before a deadline, you’ve experienced the effects of procrastination. 

If you’re a chronic procrastinator, you’re in good company. In fact, one study found that 70% to 95% of undergraduate students procrastinate when it comes to doing their homework. Unfortunately, procrastination can negatively impact your grades. Researchers have found that procrastination can lower your grade on an assignment by as much as five points ...which might not sound serious until you realize that can mean the difference between a B- and a C+. 

Procrastination can also negatively affect your health by increasing your stress levels , which can lead to other health conditions like insomnia, a weakened immune system, and even heart conditions. Getting a handle on procrastination can not only improve your grades, it can make you feel better, too! 

The big thing to understand about procrastination is that it’s not the result of laziness. Laziness is defined as being “disinclined to activity or exertion.” In other words, being lazy is all about doing nothing. But a s this Psychology Today article explains , procrastinators don’t put things off because they don’t want to work. Instead, procrastinators tend to postpone tasks they don’t want to do in favor of tasks that they perceive as either more important or more fun. Put another way, procrastinators want to do things...as long as it’s not their homework! 

3 Tips f or Conquering Procrastination 

Because putting off doing homework is a common problem, there are lots of good tactics for addressing procrastination. Keep reading for our three expert tips that will get your homework habits back on track in no time. 

#1: Create a Reward System

Like we mentioned earlier, procrastination happens when you prioritize other activities over getting your homework done. Many times, this happens because homework...well, just isn’t enjoyable. But you can add some fun back into the process by rewarding yourself for getting your work done. 

Here’s what we mean: let’s say you decide that every time you get your homework done before the day it’s due, you’ll give yourself a point. For every five points you earn, you’ll treat yourself to your favorite dessert: a chocolate cupcake! Now you have an extra (delicious!) incentive to motivate you to leave procrastination in the dust. 

If you’re not into cupcakes, don’t worry. Your reward can be anything that motivates you . Maybe it’s hanging out with your best friend or an extra ten minutes of video game time. As long as you’re choosing something that makes homework worth doing, you’ll be successful. 

#2: Have a Homework Accountability Partner 

If you’re having trouble getting yourself to start your homework ahead of time, it may be a good idea to call in reinforcements . Find a friend or classmate you can trust and explain to them that you’re trying to change your homework habits. Ask them if they’d be willing to text you to make sure you’re doing your homework and check in with you once a week to see if you’re meeting your anti-procrastination goals. 

Sharing your goals can make them feel more real, and an accountability partner can help hold you responsible for your decisions. For example, let’s say you’re tempted to put off your science lab write-up until the morning before it’s due. But you know that your accountability partner is going to text you about it tomorrow...and you don’t want to fess up that you haven’t started your assignment. A homework accountability partner can give you the extra support and incentive you need to keep your homework habits on track. 

#3: Create Your Own Due Dates 

If you’re a life-long procrastinator, you might find that changing the habit is harder than you expected. In that case, you might try using procrastination to your advantage! If you just can’t seem to stop doing your work at the last minute, try setting your own due dates for assignments that range from a day to a week before the assignment is actually due. 

Here’s what we mean. Let’s say you have a math worksheet that’s been assigned on Tuesday and is due on Friday. In your planner, you can write down the due date as Thursday instead. You may still put off your homework assignment until the last minute...but in this case, the “last minute” is a day before the assignment’s real due date . This little hack can trick your procrastination-addicted brain into planning ahead! 


If you feel like Kevin Hart in this meme, then our tips for doing homework when you're busy are for you. 

How to Do Homework When You’re too Busy

If you’re aiming to go to a top-tier college , you’re going to have a full plate. Because college admissions is getting more competitive, it’s important that you’re maintaining your grades , studying hard for your standardized tests , and participating in extracurriculars so your application stands out. A packed schedule can get even more hectic once you add family obligations or a part-time job to the mix. 

If you feel like you’re being pulled in a million directions at once, you’re not alone. Recent research has found that stress—and more severe stress-related conditions like anxiety and depression— are a major problem for high school students . In fact, one study from the American Psychological Association found that during the school year, students’ stress levels are higher than those of the adults around them. 

For students, homework is a major contributor to their overall stress levels . Many high schoolers have multiple hours of homework every night , and figuring out how to fit it into an already-packed schedule can seem impossible. 

3 Tips for Fitting Homework Into Your Busy Schedule

While it might feel like you have literally no time left in your schedule, there are still ways to make sure you’re able to get your homework done and meet your other commitments. Here are our expert homework tips for even the busiest of students. 

#1: Make a Prioritized To-Do List 

You probably already have a to-do list to keep yourself on track. The next step is to prioritize the items on your to-do list so you can see what items need your attention right away. 

Here’s how it works: at the beginning of each day, sit down and make a list of all the items you need to get done before you go to bed. This includes your homework, but it should also take into account any practices, chores, events, or job shifts you may have. Once you get everything listed out, it’s time to prioritize them using the labels A, B, and C. Here’s what those labels mean:

  • A Tasks : tasks that have to get done—like showing up at work or turning in an assignment—get an A. 
  • B Tasks : these are tasks that you would like to get done by the end of the day but aren’t as time sensitive. For example, studying for a test you have next week could be a B-level task. It’s still important, but it doesn’t have to be done right away. 
  • C Tasks: these are tasks that aren’t very important and/or have no real consequences if you don’t get them done immediately. For instance, if you’re hoping to clean out your closet but it’s not an assigned chore from your parents, you could label that to-do item with a C. 

Prioritizing your to-do list helps you visualize which items need your immediate attention, and which items you can leave for later. A prioritized to-do list ensures that you’re spending your time efficiently and effectively, which helps you make room in your schedule for homework. So even though you might really want to start making decorations for Homecoming (a B task), you’ll know that finishing your reading log (an A task) is more important. 

#2: Use a Planner With Time Labels 

Your planner is probably packed with notes, events, and assignments already. (And if you’re not using a planner, it’s time to start!) But planners can do more for you than just remind you when an assignment is due. If you’re using a planner with time labels, it can help you visualize how you need to spend your day.

A planner with time labels breaks your day down into chunks, and you assign tasks to each chunk of time. For example, you can make a note of your class schedule with assignments, block out time to study, and make sure you know when you need to be at practice. Once you know which tasks take priority, you can add them to any empty spaces in your day. 

Planning out how you spend your time not only helps you use it wisely, it can help you feel less overwhelmed, too . We’re big fans of planners that include a task list ( like this one ) or have room for notes ( like this one ). 

#3: Set Reminders on Your Phone 

If you need a little extra nudge to make sure you’re getting your homework done on time, it’s a good idea to set some reminders on your phone. You don’t need a fancy app, either. You can use your alarm app to have it go off at specific times throughout the day to remind you to do your homework. This works especially well if you have a set homework time scheduled. So if you’ve decided you’re doing homework at 6:00 pm, you can set an alarm to remind you to bust out your books and get to work. 

If you use your phone as your planner, you may have the option to add alerts, emails, or notifications to scheduled events . Many calendar apps, including the one that comes with your phone, have built-in reminders that you can customize to meet your needs. So if you block off time to do your homework from 4:30 to 6:00 pm, you can set a reminder that will pop up on your phone when it’s time to get started. 


This dog isn't judging your lack of motivation...but your teacher might. Keep reading for tips to help you motivate yourself to do your homework.

How to Do Homework When You’re Unmotivated 

At first glance, it may seem like procrastination and being unmotivated are the same thing. After all, both of these issues usually result in you putting off your homework until the very last minute. 

But there’s one key difference: many procrastinators are working, they’re just prioritizing work differently. They know they’re going to start their homework...they’re just going to do it later. 

Conversely, people who are unmotivated to do homework just can’t find the willpower to tackle their assignments. Procrastinators know they’ll at least attempt the homework at the last minute, whereas people who are unmotivated struggle with convincing themselves to do it at a ll. For procrastinators, the stress comes from the inevitable time crunch. For unmotivated people, the stress comes from trying to convince themselves to do something they don’t want to do in the first place. 

Here are some common reasons students are unmotivated in doing homework : 

  • Assignments are too easy, too hard, or seemingly pointless 
  • Students aren’t interested in (or passionate about) the subject matter
  • Students are intimidated by the work and/or feels like they don’t understand the assignment 
  • Homework isn’t fun, and students would rather spend their time on things that they enjoy 

To sum it up: people who lack motivation to do their homework are more likely to not do it at all, or to spend more time worrying about doing their homework than...well, actually doing it.

3 Tips for How to Get Motivated to Do Homework

The key to getting homework done when you’re unmotivated is to figure out what does motivate you, then apply those things to homework. It sounds tricky...but it’s pretty simple once you get the hang of it! Here are our three expert tips for motivating yourself to do your homework. 

#1: Use Incremental Incentives

When you’re not motivated, it’s important to give yourself small rewards to stay focused on finishing the task at hand. The trick is to keep the incentives small and to reward yourself often. For example, maybe you’re reading a good book in your free time. For every ten minutes you spend on your homework, you get to read five pages of your book. Like we mentioned earlier, make sure you’re choosing a reward that works for you! 

So why does this technique work? Using small rewards more often allows you to experience small wins for getting your work done. Every time you make it to one of your tiny reward points, you get to celebrate your success, which gives your brain a boost of dopamine . Dopamine helps you stay motivated and also creates a feeling of satisfaction when you complete your homework !  

#2: Form a Homework Group 

If you’re having trouble motivating yourself, it’s okay to turn to others for support. Creating a homework group can help with this. Bring together a group of your friends or classmates, and pick one time a week where you meet and work on homework together. You don’t have to be in the same class, or even taking the same subjects— the goal is to encourage one another to start (and finish!) your assignments. 

Another added benefit of a homework group is that you can help one another if you’re struggling to understand the material covered in your classes. This is especially helpful if your lack of motivation comes from being intimidated by your assignments. Asking your friends for help may feel less scary than talking to your teacher...and once you get a handle on the material, your homework may become less frightening, too. 

#3: Change Up Your Environment 

If you find that you’re totally unmotivated, it may help if you find a new place to do your homework. For example, if you’ve been struggling to get your homework done at home, try spending an extra hour in the library after school instead. The change of scenery can limit your distractions and give you the energy you need to get your work done. 

If you’re stuck doing homework at home, you can still use this tip. For instance, maybe you’ve always done your homework sitting on your bed. Try relocating somewhere else, like your kitchen table, for a few weeks. You may find that setting up a new “homework spot” in your house gives you a motivational lift and helps you get your work done. 


Social media can be a huge problem when it comes to doing homework. We have advice for helping you unplug and regain focus.

How to Do Homework When You’re Easily Distracted

We live in an always-on world, and there are tons of things clamoring for our attention. From friends and family to pop culture and social media, it seems like there’s always something (or someone!) distracting us from the things we need to do.

The 24/7 world we live in has affected our ability to focus on tasks for prolonged periods of time. Research has shown that over the past decade, an average person’s attention span has gone from 12 seconds to eight seconds . And when we do lose focus, i t takes people a long time to get back on task . One study found that it can take as long as 23 minutes to get back to work once we’ve been distracte d. No wonder it can take hours to get your homework done! 

3 Tips to Improve Your Focus

If you have a hard time focusing when you’re doing your homework, it’s a good idea to try and eliminate as many distractions as possible. Here are three expert tips for blocking out the noise so you can focus on getting your homework done. 

#1: Create a Distraction-Free Environment

Pick a place where you’ll do your homework every day, and make it as distraction-free as possible. Try to find a location where there won’t be tons of noise, and limit your access to screens while you’re doing your homework. Put together a focus-oriented playlist (or choose one on your favorite streaming service), and put your headphones on while you work. 

You may find that other people, like your friends and family, are your biggest distraction. If that’s the case, try setting up some homework boundaries. Let them know when you’ll be working on homework every day, and ask them if they’ll help you keep a quiet environment. They’ll be happy to lend a hand! 

#2: Limit Your Access to Technology 

We know, we know...this tip isn’t fun, but it does work. For homework that doesn’t require a computer, like handouts or worksheets, it’s best to put all your technology away . Turn off your television, put your phone and laptop in your backpack, and silence notifications on any wearable tech you may be sporting. If you listen to music while you work, that’s fine...but make sure you have a playlist set up so you’re not shuffling through songs once you get started on your homework. 

If your homework requires your laptop or tablet, it can be harder to limit your access to distractions. But it’s not impossible! T here are apps you can download that will block certain websites while you’re working so that you’re not tempted to scroll through Twitter or check your Facebook feed. Silence notifications and text messages on your computer, and don’t open your email account unless you absolutely have to. And if you don’t need access to the internet to complete your assignments, turn off your WiFi. Cutting out the online chatter is a great way to make sure you’re getting your homework done. 

#3: Set a Timer (the Pomodoro Technique)

Have you ever heard of the Pomodoro technique ? It’s a productivity hack that uses a timer to help you focus!

Here’s how it works: first, set a timer for 25 minutes. This is going to be your work time. During this 25 minutes, all you can do is work on whatever homework assignment you have in front of you. No email, no text messaging, no phone calls—just homework. When that timer goes off, you get to take a 5 minute break. Every time you go through one of these cycles, it’s called a “pomodoro.” For every four pomodoros you complete, you can take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes.

The pomodoro technique works through a combination of boundary setting and rewards. First, it gives you a finite amount of time to focus, so you know that you only have to work really hard for 25 minutes. Once you’ve done that, you’re rewarded with a short break where you can do whatever you want. Additionally, tracking how many pomodoros you complete can help you see how long you’re really working on your homework. (Once you start using our focus tips, you may find it doesn’t take as long as you thought!)


Two Bonus Tips for How to Do Homework Fast

Even if you’re doing everything right, there will be times when you just need to get your homework done as fast as possible. (Why do teachers always have projects due in the same week? The world may never know.)

The problem with speeding through homework is that it’s easy to make mistakes. While turning in an assignment is always better than not submitting anything at all, you want to make sure that you’re not compromising quality for speed. Simply put, the goal is to get your homework done quickly and still make a good grade on the assignment! 

Here are our two bonus tips for getting a decent grade on your homework assignments , even when you’re in a time crunch. 

#1: Do the Easy Parts First 

This is especially true if you’re working on a handout with multiple questions. Before you start working on the assignment, read through all the questions and problems. As you do, make a mark beside the questions you think are “easy” to answer . 

Once you’ve finished going through the whole assignment, you can answer these questions first. Getting the easy questions out of the way as quickly as possible lets you spend more time on the trickier portions of your homework, which will maximize your assignment grade. 

(Quick note: this is also a good strategy to use on timed assignments and tests, like the SAT and the ACT !) 

#2: Pay Attention in Class 

Homework gets a lot easier when you’re actively learning the material. Teachers aren’t giving you homework because they’re mean or trying to ruin your weekend... it’s because they want you to really understand the course material. Homework is designed to reinforce what you’re already learning in class so you’ll be ready to tackle harder concepts later. 

When you pay attention in class, ask questions, and take good notes, you’re absorbing the information you’ll need to succeed on your homework assignments. (You’re stuck in class anyway, so you might as well make the most of it!) Not only will paying attention in class make your homework less confusing, it will also help it go much faster, too. 


What’s Next?

If you’re looking to improve your productivity beyond homework, a good place to begin is with time management. After all, we only have so much time in a day...so it’s important to get the most out of it! To get you started, check out this list of the 12 best time management techniques that you can start using today.

You may have read this article because homework struggles have been affecting your GPA. Now that you’re on the path to homework success, it’s time to start being proactive about raising your grades. This article teaches you everything you need to know about raising your GPA so you can

Now you know how to get motivated to do homework...but what about your study habits? Studying is just as critical to getting good grades, and ultimately getting into a good college . We can teach you how to study bette r in high school. (We’ve also got tons of resources to help you study for your ACT and SAT exams , too!) 

Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!

Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.

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These recommendations are based solely on our knowledge and experience. If you purchase an item through one of our links, PrepScholar may receive a commission.

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Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.

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How To Stop Being Lazy: 24 Tips That Actually Work!

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lazy man sitting outside house

Are you a lazy person? Do you struggle to get things done?

Everyone’s been there before. Sometimes it’s just so difficult to find the motivation to get all of the things done.

Maybe you’re overworked, dealing with a medical issue, or you’re just burned out. Mustering the energy when your tank is on Empty can be near impossible.

But wait a minute… did you catch what we said there? Maybe you’re overworked , dealing with a medical issue , or you’re just burned out ?

Do any of those things sound like laziness?

Like you just don’t want to do the things that you know you should be doing? That would better your life? That will help you maintain the quality of your life?

The word “lazy” is shaming language that is starting to get challenged in mental health circles.

What we call laziness doesn’t necessarily reflect the actual reasons behind why we aren’t doing what we need to do.

Is a person lazy because they’re too exhausted to do additional work?

Is a person lazy because they struggle with depression and their body isn’t producing the energy to do the work?

Is a person lazy who shuts down because they are overwhelmed by their anxiety?

Is a person lazy because they feel like they aren’t being respected and just don’t want to do the work?

Lazy, by definition, is simply an unwillingness to work or use energy. But it’s seldom used in such a neutral way. Instead, we use it against ourselves as a way to shame ourselves into doing the work. Other people use it against us to try to shame us into motivation.

You can’t be lazy. You shouldn’t be lazy. You have things to do! Responsibilities and all of that!

And a lot of that just comes from the social construct of our work ethic. America is the land of opportunity. So if you’re not succeeding, you must be lazy and not working hard enough! Which is an attitude that completely ignores the randomness of success.

Hard work can make you more likely to succeed. However, there are still plenty of people out there who will break their backs in hard labor and never experience “success” in the way it’s marketed to be.

Still, we need to find the motivation and path toward our success. No one else is going to do the work for you.

So, how can you stop being lazy?

Consult a life coach to help you break through the ‘laziness’ that is holding you back. Use the quick and simple form on Bark.com to have qualified life coaches email you to discuss their coaching services and provide quotes.

1. Accept yourself for what you are.

The word “lazy” has negative connotations. There’s no real way around that. It’s the most common way that word is used.

But you’re allowed to be a person who doesn’t always want to do stuff constantly. That may be an active choice, or it might be something imposed on you from an external factor.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to be kind and compassionate with yourself. Clearly, you care about your motivation and ability to get things done. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here reading this article. You wouldn’t be out hunting for knowledge on being more productive and getting more things done.

People will often use metaphors like, “You don’t have to be working all the time. You’re not a machine.” Which isn’t really correct. Anyone who’s worked with machines knows that machines don’t work all the time either. They regularly go down for maintenance. Otherwise, they break and need fixing. And much like a machine, you can’t be productive all the time.

Avoid calling yourself lazy. Avoid shaming yourself. Putting negative thoughts into your head will make the situation harder on yourself than it needs to be.

2. Understand why you are not motivated.

Can you identify why you’re not motivated? Why do you feel you are lazy? Identifying the why will let you find solutions to the problem that may not be as simple as just not wanting to work.

Consider questions like:

How often do you get breaks? Are you working all the time? Do you have the energy to do the things that you are going to do? Do you get good sleep?

Do you have a good diet? Are your body and brain getting the right nutrients they need to help keep you motivated and energetic?

Is it a mental health concern? Do you find yourself overwhelmed constantly? Do you feel hopeless or apathetic? Do you feel like nothing matters? Do you feel like there are too many decisions to make?

All of these things may point to medical reasons for your lack of motivation and desire. If you can’t pinpoint a reason, it’s a good idea to talk to a mental health professional about it. They may be able to help you hone in on the reason.

3. Develop better habits.

People are creatures of habit. Sometimes, laziness and lack of motivation can be rooted in our regular habits.

For example, let’s say you work from home. Every day at about 2 PM, you decide to take a nap for your lunch break. Your body and brain will get accustomed to having that nap every day, so when it gets to be about 1:45, your brain and body are telling you that it’s about time for sleep. They will start slowing down and preparing to rest.

On the other hand, maybe you just don’t have much to do. Maybe you’re at a place in your life where you’re not really working, there’s not a whole lot to do around the house, and you’re just spending a lot of time lounging. There’s nothing wrong with taking some time off to yourself, but it’s a lot harder to get going again when you’re off a schedule and need to get back on it.

Make productivity into a habit. Get some things done, and it will be easier to grow your motivation.

4. Set some reasonable goals.

Goals are a fantastic way to build motivation. The SMART goal system is a simple, effective way to get more things done. A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

For example, let’s say you want to lose some weight. “Losing weight” is a non-specific goal that is hard to set a successful condition to. A SMART goal will be a smaller goal that will bring you closer to the ultimate goal of losing more weight. It would be more like:

“I’m going to lose weight by not consuming more than 1800 calories per day for the next 30 days.”

That’s a specific, SMART goal that provides an actionable way to attain the overall goal. It’s much easier to find motivation and get the job done when you have a specific plan to reach success.

5. Work on small things.

Do you have grand plans? Not everyone does. That’s okay if you don’t. Some people don’t dream big or have major goals that they strive for. The reasons can be anything from mental health to just being satisfied with the smaller things in life.

The interesting thing about the small things in life is that all of the bigger things are just a composition of that small thing. For example, many smaller moving pieces go into earning a degree. You have to apply for the school, maybe relocate, attend and pass classes, study, do projects, and much more.

Small things can help provide you with motivation when you’re feeling blasé about your life. Accomplishing smaller goals (usually) activates the brain’s reward circuits, providing dopamine and endorphin boosts as a reward for doing well. Use that to get yourself moving toward the things that you want to accomplish.

6. Use time management techniques.

Time management techniques can be an excellent way to combat laziness that is the result of feeling overwhelmed. Of course, many people don’t do well when they have a massive project hanging over their head that is absolutely going to need several hours to complete, but man, where do you start?

The Pomodoro technique is a common time management technique that can help you make the most of your time. It’s simple. You work for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break. This cycle is called a Pomodoro. After four Pomodoros, you take a longer break of about 15 to 20 minutes.

Managing your time this way helps break the day up, keeping your mind fresh and motivated. You don’t want to spend all day staring at a computer screen, burning through the hours just to try to get this thing done. That just leaves you exhausted and spent at the end of the day.

So instead, you are creating space within your day to work and not work. You are creating habits and routines that will give your brain downtime when you need to rest.

It’s common to use a timer with this technique, so you don’t distract yourself with keeping time all day. Set the timer for 25 minutes, work until the timer, take a few minutes, restart the timer, and repeat.

7. Don’t allow yourself to make excuses.

Excuses will derail your progress if you let them. You can always find a reason to not do the work.

One common way for people to procrastinate is to “wait for the time to be right.” Well, guess what? There usually isn’t a right time. You can end up waiting for years for all of the stars to align before finally doing what you know you should be, and the opportunity could be long gone.

An excuse is flimsy reasoning to not do the work.

But what about a reason? Sometimes we can’t do the work because there are additional circumstances that are preventing us from acting. That’s fair and reasonable. On the other hand, sometimes you do have to wait. Sometimes it’s another person who isn’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Sometimes it’s that you don’t have enough information or resources to accomplish your goal.

These things are fair and valid. Instead, stop making excuses that keep you from moving forward with your duties and goals.

8. Don’t let perfection stand in the way of completion.

Perfectionists often undermine their own success by not settling for good. Instead, they spend far more time agonizing over specific details, trying to hammer out every tiny thing until it meets their criteria of perfect.

But perfectionism isn’t always that simple. Sometimes perfectionism is an anxiety response. By focusing on perfecting the project, the person can excuse themselves from actually completing it.

After all, a completed project is something that can be picked apart, put under a microscope, and judged. A lot of people just aren’t comfortable with that. So instead, they always have a little more work to do. This one little thing needs tweaking. “If I just keep working on it! Then it will be perfect!”

The truth of the matter is that nothing is ever perfect. And even if you do produce the most perfect thing in the world, other people may not appreciate it the way you do.

For example, consider writing. A writer sits down and wants to create the perfect story. They develop the perfect story arc, execute their grammar flawlessly, edit the story down, and tweak it to be in line with their perfect vision. Then they release the thing they wrote, and their audience hates it. How can that possibly happen? It’s simple. The writer and reader are two different people with two different sets of expectations.

A writer can create a technical masterpiece. It can be a slogging bore of a chore to bother reading for anyone who isn’t into technical masterpieces.

Life is no different. Your perfect may mean nothing to anyone else because they just aren’t that interested in your perfect.

how to not be lazy to do homework

9. Reward yourself for completing tasks.

Do reward yourself when you finally complete your goals. Allow yourself to sit back, revel in accomplishing your goal, and give yourself a little happiness as a reward.

That might be treating yourself to something a little extra special or doing something fun that you might not normally do.

A physical reward for a goal completed can help reinforce those reward circuits of the brain because you have a tangible thing to look at as a result of your work. This can be quite helpful when you are pursuing intangible or long-term goals.

For example, losing weight and fixing your diet is a long-term project that will require commitment and discipline. Rewarding yourself with some better clothes as you lose weight can be a good reward.

Do try to avoid rewards that are counterproductive, though.

“I’ve been sober for 30 days! I’ll drink to that!”

“I’ve lost 25 pounds! I’m going to sit down and eat a pizza!”

It sounds ridiculous, but people do it all the time. Unfortunately, it’s not helpful and can cause you to fall back into unhealthier habits.

10. Protect your personal space.

You need to be the one to ensure there is a clear delineation between your work and your personal life. Mobile phones have made this much harder because so much of the world assumes that you should always be reachable. That is anxiety-inducing and a gross intrusion on your personal space.

Do not install work-related apps on your personal devices. Do not use your work devices for personal reasons. Do not work off the clock or take work calls off the clock. Take your vacation, personal, and sick time if you are lucky enough to have it. Maintain separation from your work.

If you must have a phone and your workplace is not providing one, go buy a burner phone from any big box retailer or one of the many convenience stores that carry them.

11. Do not let managers use the word “lazy” to influence you.

Allow me to share a bit of a personal story with you. I’ve had quite a few jobs as someone that didn’t always have a very stable life. Bad management loves to motivate people by weaponizing laziness, except they don’t use the word lazy. They say things like:

“We really need you to pick up some of the slack in your department.”

“X employee was able to do it. So why can’t you?”

“We just don’t have the budget to hire someone else right now.”

“Don’t you want to be a team player?”

It’s all BS meant to pressure you into doing more for less. Their goal is to always keep costs down. So why bother hiring someone to replace the person who just quit when they can lay a guilt trip on you to get you to work harder? After all, many places offer their management bonuses if they can keep their payroll budget under a certain amount.

And do not fall for, “Well, we know you’re doing all of this extra work, but we can’t afford to give you a raise or a promotion right now. Let’s see how things are in six months.” I’ll tell you exactly how things will be in six months. “We just don’t have that in the budget.”

Bad management will sap your energy and motivation. They will leave you an emotional husk. So do not settle for bad management if you can avoid it.

A phrase I personally found helpful was, “I’ll try to pick up that slack, but I don’t know if I have enough time in my day to do it.” If you say no, they can write you up for insubordination or try to bully you into thinking you’re wrong. And then, you can put out the reason, “I just didn’t have the time to get it all done.”

They will likely complain or say you just need to work harder. Just shrug and look at them blankly. Don’t argue. You won’t win.

12. Reduce your stress.

Stress plays a negative role in our ability to function as people. Of course, a little stress isn’t necessarily bad. Sometimes it’s good to have the disruption. But regular, consistent, long-term stress can have a starkly negative impact on your mental and physical health.

By the time you actually get around to resting, you no longer have the time or the energy to keep up with the stress you’re experiencing.

Now, if you’re in a high-stress job, sometimes you can’t avoid that. So you need to have ways of managing and blowing off that stress so that you can still function when you get out of work.

However, sometimes that’s just not possible. So if you find that you just can’t function when you’re not at work because you’re constantly stressed out about work, it might be time to consider a career change or finding a different job.

13. Embrace planning and scheduling.

Sometimes a lack of productivity can come from poor planning. It’s hard to get everything you need done if you are constantly chasing around responsibilities and putting out fires. So try to incorporate more scheduling into your workday where you can.

It’s much easier to meet your goals when you have time set aside to address them. It means you don’t have to deal with the start and stop nature of general work.

Email is one major time and productivity thief. For example, let’s say that you’re working on a project. An email lands in your inbox, so you have to stop your work, shift your focus to the email, answer the email, and then get back into the project you were working on. That can easily turn into 5 or 10 minutes of inefficiency per email. Now, if you work in a job where you are getting 10 emails a day, that’s a whole lot of lost productivity and wasted time.

One way to manage that communication style is to pick a set time (or times) in the day to check your mail. Do it in the morning, at lunch, and/or before you go home. That way, you can spend the rest of your time focusing on your actual work.

14. Improve your sleep.

Sleep is the cornerstone of good health. Your body repairs itself and produces a lot of important chemicals when you’re in the deepest reaches of sleep.

However, suppose you are not sleeping consistently or regularly. In that case, your body may not have enough time to do everything it needs to do. Shallow or broken sleep can cause moodiness, depression, worsen anxiety, and deprive you of the feeling of being rested.

Common ways to improve sleep hygiene include not using screens before bed (even with blue blockers), avoid stimulating drinks before bed, and have a comfortable place to sleep. People tend to sleep better in a comfortable bed in a cooler climate.

Try to maintain a sleep schedule where you get the amount of sleep that leaves you rested. That’s usually about six to eight hours of sleep, but it can be different depending on the person.

15. Improve your diet.

Your diet is an important part of your motivation and energy. Food and drink are the fuel that keeps your machine running. Avoid foods that can cause you to spike and crash in energy; sugar, caffeine, high-fat, and processed foods.

Steer away from junk food and snacking on bad foods like potato chips, snack cakes, and candy. We consume so much sugar that it drastically affects the way other foods taste. For example, suppose you stay away from foods with refined sugars for a couple of weeks. In that case, naturally sweet foods like fruit will taste much sweeter.

Good food is necessary to keep your body running efficiently.

16. Get regular exercise.

Regular exercise provides a net positive effect on how much energy you have. You will find that as you exercise, your body gets used to it and wants more activity. That energy is what you can pour into accomplishing your goals and not being lazy.

Exercise is beneficial even if it’s a small amount, so long as you do it regularly. Even taking a walk and getting some sunshine for 15 minutes a day can provide a massive boost to your energy levels.

17. Drink more water.

Change out the sugary juices and sodas, coffees and teas, and energy drinks with good old-fashioned water.

Water is just good for you.

It has no calories and is used by your body to help keep everything in working order.

Drink more water.

18. Surround yourself with motivated, positive people.

There’s a saying that goes, “You are the five people you spend the most time with.” It’s pointing to the influence that our friends and family often have on us.

People have a difficult time moving against the flow that they find themselves in. For example, suppose you surround yourself with negative people who never want to do anything or improve their situation. In that case, it’s much easier for you to shrug off your own progress and just be lazy with your friends.

However, surrounding yourself with people who have goals can help you create a support network to keep everyone on track.

Being around negative people who are content with slacking off is not the way to get things done.

19. Lean into your personal strengths.

Frustration is a powerful demotivator. You may be trying to accomplish something that you’re just not good at. It might be that the overall goal you’re trying to achieve doesn’t really align with your personal strengths.

Is there a way to put your goals in alignment with your strengths? You can make the pursuit of your goals all that much easier by leaning hard into your strengths and outsourcing your weaknesses.

For example, let’s say you want to get fit. However, you don’t know much about nutrition or eating healthy. Now, you can teach yourself plenty of that information through the internet. However, it might be easier to just see a nutritionist and have them help you develop a meal plan to learn the basics of eating healthy. Talking to a professional can save you a lot of time, money, and energy, which you can then put toward your goal.

20. Do use motivators.

Though you shouldn’t rely on your personal motivation to get things done, you can use motivators to inspire you to keep moving forward.

People are motivated by many different things, which are split into two categories.

First, there are intrinsic motivations. These are the things within you that cause you to take action. That might include things like a desire to be better, passion, justice, or a desire for success.

Second, there are extrinsic motivations. These are external factors that provide motivation. Extrinsic motivations are things like money, travel, being attractive to others, or praise from other people.

What kind of motivators inspire you to action? How can you include those to give yourself that extra boost when you don’t feel like putting in the work?

You may be able to bolster your motivation and inspiration for yourself before you get into your work. Maybe you follow many artists or have a vision board that outlines what your ideal life looks like. These kinds of things can serve as an extrinsic motivation when you find yourself lacking intrinsic motivation.

21. Don’t rely solely on willpower to get things done.

Willpower is powerful tool that can help you push through the bad times. However, it’s not a good idea to solely rely on willpower to make the bigger goals happen. Willpower can wax and wane. You may be fired up and all ready to take on the world today; but tomorrow you may find yourself exhausted and unable to do the work.

That’s okay.

That’s your brain telling you that it’s time to take a break. You don’t have to have an iron will to get things done and accomplish your goals.

22. Redefine what it means to fail.

Are you afraid of failure? Many people are. They aren’t actually lazy; they are just afraid of being made to look foolish or of not succeeding.

But, here’s the secret. Successful people fail all the time. They succeed because they don’t necessarily look at failure as the end. It doesn’t have to be. It’s okay if something doesn’t work out. But, what are you going to do with that information? Are you going to throw in the towel and say, “Alright, I failed. I give up!”

Or, are you going to take that failure as a lesson in what doesn’t work and pivot to another approach? A failure doesn’t have to be an end if you don’t want it to be. Sometimes a failure is just an obstacle putting you in a better direction for success.

Failure isn’t a dirty word. But, of course, that isn’t going to stop negative people from treating it like one. Ignore those people. Why do you care what people who don’t support you think? They are irrelevant.

23. Stop thinking and start doing.

It’s good to plan the route you want to take toward success. The problem is that too much can be a bad thing.

Laziness may not be a lack of motivation or desire; sometimes, people just get too wrapped up in their own thoughts about the thing. They spend all their time thinking, planning, planning more, and thinking more. This is called “analysis paralysis.”

The secret to breaking through this is to stop thinking and start doing. Make your initial plan, and then start doing it.

The problem with too much planning is that it assumes you can foresee every hurdle you’re going to face. You won’t. You don’t know what you don’t know. All you can do is face those unknown obstacles when you finally run into them.

You have to be confident that you are smart and capable enough to find solutions to those problems when you do experience them.

And you are!

What’s more, you have the internet at your fingertips. There is undoubtedly someone somewhere who has run into the problems that you are having. The information is out there. And if it’s not, then you get the privilege of trying new things to see what works and what doesn’t!

24. Live in the present.

Do you live in the present? What does it even mean to live in the present?

It’s not complicated. To live in the present means, you are actively choosing what you are doing in the present moment, rather than being pulled along or acting out of habit.

For example, let’s say you spend a lot of time on social media. You scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll, and the next thing you know, it’s two hours later. Did you actively decide to scroll social media for two hours? Or was it something you just mindlessly did out of habit because that’s just what you’re used to doing?

That principle applies to many things. People waste hours mindlessly playing video games, binge-watching shows, scrolling social media, or just doing nothing because that’s just what they do. It may not even be bringing them pleasure, peace, or relaxation. It’s just what they do.

Don’t be pulled along by your habits. Make active choices. And that doesn’t mean that you have to completely give up these things. Just be mindful of how you spend your time. Maybe you want to play a video game for an hour and then get out and exercise. Or maybe you put a show on in the background while you clean up your living space.

Actively choose how you want to spend the precious limited time you have. You don’t get more time.

In conclusion…

Laziness is a complicated subject. It’s rarely as simple as the shameful thing that it’s meant to be. For most people, laziness is actually just being tired or needing lifestyle changes. An inability to get things done may point to a medical condition that features fatigue or tiredness for other people. Many mental illnesses can cause exhaustion to a point where the person struggles to function consistently.

If you are affected by chronic laziness and can’t seem to put a finger on why, consult with medical professionals. It may not be as simple as, “I just need to get back to work.”

Be kind to yourself and to others. People don’t generally want to do a bad job or miss out on opportunities. Laziness is not something that most people choose.

Still not sure how to stop being lazy? Speak to a life coach today who can walk you through the process. Simply fill out this short form to get quotes from several coaches along with details of how they can help.

You may also like:

  • 8 Effective Ways To Finish What You Start If You Can’t Finish Anything
  • The 10 Types Of Motivation That You Can Use To Achieve Your Goals
  • 8 Ways To Be More Proactive In Life (+ Examples)
  • How To Bring Yourself To Do Something You Don’t Really Want To Do
  • How To Increase Mental Stamina: 10 Effective Tips
  • Discipline: The Only Bulletproof Method Of Getting Things Done
  • 10 Things To Do When You Don’t Feel Like Doing Anything
  • 10 No Nonsense Ways To Be Consistent In Your Life

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About The Author

how to not be lazy to do homework

Jack Nollan is a person who has lived with Bipolar Disorder and Bipolar-depression for almost 30 years now. Jack is a mental health writer of 10 years who pairs lived experience with evidence-based information to provide perspective from the side of the mental health consumer. With hands-on experience as the facilitator of a mental health support group, Jack has a firm grasp of the wide range of struggles people face when their mind is not in the healthiest of places. Jack is an activist who is passionate about helping disadvantaged people find a better path.

how to not be lazy to do homework

How to Focus on Homework and Actually Get Things Done: 12 Time Management Hacks for Busy Students

  • September 15, 2022

A teen using his laptop and learning how to focus on homework

Chances are, you’ve had some days when you felt overwhelmed after a long day at school. You couldn’t imagine doing anything other than plopping down in front of the television, let alone finding out how to focus on your homework. 

How can you overcome the resistance and get it done? How do you get your mind to include this task in your day as well?

With just a few adjustments, you will be able to expand your capacity to concentrate.

Why Can’t I Focus on My Homework?

Countless factors constantly fight for your attention : social media, people, overthinking, and anxiety. All of this can make you feel as though you have little control over your mind. 

If you want to start to focus better on your homework, you’ll need to set your mind up for success. Remove all distractions .

Here are two key principles that can help you be more successful in your studies:

1. Identify the distractions in your surroundings

What are the things in your daily life that take your mind away from your studies? Clearly identifying these distractions can help you understand both the problem and what causes it.

Among our environmental distractions, digital distractions are one of the worst kinds, and according to a number of studies , their effect is on the rise in the classroom.

If you’re looking to gain more concentration and, thus, form better study habits, question your online behavior first and foremost.

2. Limit the use of technology to find focus

What’s the role of social media in your daily life? Have you ever sat down to calculate how social media distracts you from doing the things you should be doing?

When you are wondering how to focus on homework long after you’ve put your phone away, you’re still thinking about the last posts you saw on Instagram. The sound of new notifications can be enough to reroute our attention from the task at hand.

And then comes the information overload, the fear of missing out, and the all-too-common signs of addictive behavior. Technology is affecting your mind more than ever, and it’s taking your focus away.

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How to Focus on Homework: 12 Things You Can Do to Be More Indistractible

Here are 12 tips on how to stay focused while completing your homework, taught by superbrain coach Jim Kwik and habit transformation expert Nir Eyal .

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  • Tell others to stay away
  • Listen to study music
  • Set deadlines
  • Take brain breaks
  • Use discomfort as motivation for productivity
  • Use time blocking
  • Let go of thoughts that distract you
  • Reimagine your task

Let’s look at each study hack in more detail.

1. Make a routine

Routines help you be productive without exerting as much effort. When you have homework to do, a study routine can be the reason you actually sit down, set enough time aside, concentrate, and stay focused until you complete the project.

This process doesn’t need to be complicated: just tell yourself that you will sit at your desk at home once you’re back from school. Put your phone on silent, make an outline of the work that needs to get done, and simply begin with what’s most important.

2. Set up a study-friendly environment

A place for everything and everything in its place. That applies to studying, too.

Lying in bed with your notebook is considered a distraction, as is being in the living room with your laptop while others are doing their activities.

You need an isolated place when you decide to focus on your homework. Make it feel comfortable, keep it organized, keep it clean, and consider putting up some motivational posters or positive affirmations .

3. Avoid heavy meals

It’s not advisable to have a big meal beforehand. Big meals can ruin your focus and make you feel sluggish and lazy because it takes a big amount of time and energy for your body to digest. A snack is okay.

There are also some foods , though, that are just plain bad for your productivity. For example, soda, candy, and fried foods are all full of sugar and have no nutritional value. They make your insulin spike up, but then it crashes very fast, which makes you feel depleted of energy.

4. Organize your study notes

Prioritize your work. Keep lists and place the most important items on top. Then work on the items that you should get done first.

It helps to outline what you need to do, breaking it down into smaller, more manageable steps. Use colors to highlight the essentials . 

This makes it all look much simpler and you’re more likely to actually get started. The brain loves organization and it won’t be so likely to procrastinate when it knows you have a structure set in place.

5. Tell others to stay away

Don’t be afraid to let others know that you’re studying and require some time and space to get your work done. Decide on fixed hours for studying and tell your friends and family members that you won’t be available during that time of the day.

If others respect your study time, you’ll be more inclined to respect it as well. 

6. Listen to study music

There are many tracks out there designed to help your mind focus. Whether you use binaural beats or just instrumental music, the right sounds can really help to tune your brain into a productive frequency.

This meditation is also great to listen to; it puts your mind in a clear, concise, and ready-to-take-on-the-world mode:

7. Set deadlines

Even if your teacher has already given you deadlines for each assignment, set new ones yourself at earlier dates.

This helps you build discipline, learn how to focus on studying, and prioritize every day.

8. Take brain breaks

Frequent breaks actually increase your productivity and focus. You’ll see that after each study session, the brain needs to be engaged with something different —  you need to activate other parts of your brain before going back to your studies so that you can reach top performance.

You can also use the Superbrain Yoga Technique. In the Superbrain Quest, Jim talks about implementing it during your breaks. It goes as follows:

  • Massage the left lobe of your ear with your right hand, and the right one with your left hand
  • Inhale and squat down
  • Exhale and come back up while continuing massaging your opposite ear with the opposite hand
  • Keep going for a few minutes
As your body moves, your brain grooves. — Jim Kwik, trainer of Mindvalley’s Superbrain Quest

9. Use discomfort as motivation for productivity

The brain is wired to protect us from danger, and our ancestors needed this function of the psyche to survive. Discomfort is associated with danger, and whenever they felt it, they knew it was time to run away or protect themselves in one way or another.

In today’s world, danger isn’t so imminent. However, discomfort is, and the brain still works to protect us in the same way. 

So why not use it to your advantage?

Once you have this mindset shift, you can see the discomfort that comes with doing your homework as fuel for moving forward, from pain to pleasure. So instead of procrastinating and avoiding the discomfort, just use it as motivation to get things done.

And maybe you can even save yourself a fun activity to do later in the day, so you have something to look forward to.

10. Use time blocking

You can use time blocking and set a specific amount of time for parts of your homework that needs to be done. For example, you block 30 minutes of reading, then another 30 minutes of writing down highlights from the text. 

This method will give you more structure and support you when you need to focus on school work, as you will have a dedicated structured time to do so.

11. Let go of thoughts that distract you

When you need more concentration, but your thoughts keep getting in the way, here’s a fun visualization exercise you can use:

  • Before you start working on your homework, close down your eyes and imagine a flowing river in front of you. 
  • Now, place every thought on a leaf and let it run down the river while watching it move away from you. 

Do this repeatedly for 5-10 minutes and see how your mind becomes clearer, more productive, and more inspired.

12. Reimagine your task

How can you make the process of doing your homework more fun? Is there any way you can think of to make it more exciting and engaging?

As you introduce play and fun into any task, your capacity to stay focused will increase. So just try out different methods to engage more in your homework. 

For example, what if you made a trivia quest about your history lesson homework? Or what about riddles to make you remember all the characters from the novel you have to read? 

Once you play around with these kinds of games, you might find that focusing on your homework isn’t as boring as you thought it would be.

Unleash the Power of Your Focus

Discovering how to focus on your homework can go beyond schoolwork and actually support you in many other activities you want to do. Concentration is one of the best skills to nurture for your growth.

If you need a little guidance at the beginning of your focusing journey, Mindvalley has it in store for you. 

By unlocking your FREE Mindvalley access , you can check out sample classes from quests that help you develop better focus and study habits, such as Becoming Focused and Indistractable by Nir Eyal and Superbrain by Jim Kwik. You can also immerse yourself in beautiful sounds and guided meditations designed to improve concentration and help you enter the flow state.

The earlier you start, the greater your journey of self-discovery will be. Welcome in.

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How to Motivate Teenagers to Do Their Homework

Last Updated: February 8, 2021

This article was co-authored by Klare Heston, LCSW . Klare Heston is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker based in Cleveland, Ohio. With experience in academic counseling and clinical supervision, Klare received her Master of Social Work from the Virginia Commonwealth University in 1983. She also holds a 2-Year Post-Graduate Certificate from the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland, as well as certification in Family Therapy, Supervision, Mediation, and Trauma Recovery and Treatment (EMDR). This article has been viewed 171,688 times.

It is pretty common for teenagers to hate doing homework. They would much rather hang out with their friends or play video games. This can be very frustrating to parents. Fortunately, there are many things to help your teenager be more motivated and even enthusiastic to complete their homework.

Providing Structure

Step 1 Create the right environment.

  • Doing homework at the kitchen table or a desk in the office or living room will provide them with enough space to complete their work.

Step 2 Set a consistent homework time.

  • For example, your teen has baseball practice immediately following school. He doesn’t get home until 5:00. Your family eats dinner at 6:00. So, the best time for him to complete his homework is at 7:00.

Step 3 Give them tools to stay organized.

  • Ask your child’s teacher for recommendations on a good tutor in your area.

Step 5 Make studying fun.

  • For example, if your teenager is having a hard time understanding geometry but understands basketball, consider taking a geometry lesson to the basketball court. Help your teenager understand different triangles by using your bodies and the basketball hoop to represent the different corners of a triangle. What happens to the triangle if one of you step further away from the basketball hoop?
  • Watch an interesting historical movie or documentary about a topic that your child is learning in history class.

Be a Presence at School

Step 1 Make a presence at their school.

  • Schedule a parent/teacher conference.
  • If your job or schedule doesn’t allow you to actively participate, be sure to attend at least one conference yearly and stay up to date with the school newsletter.

Step 2 Collaborate with your teen.

  • For example, your teenager just received their midterm grade in math and they have a D. They have three weeks to bring their grade up before their next report card. Have a conversation with your teen by asking them what they need to do to bring their grade up. If they say that they need to study more, suggest that they bring home their math book each day and spend at least 30 minutes studying what they went over in class that day.
  • Ask your teenager if they have any missed assignments or tests.

Step 3 Provide reminders.

  • Consider using technology to set reminders for your teenager. Set calendar reminders on your phone and sync it to their phone. There are also several family management apps that may help.

Achieving Goals

Step 1 Help your teen set goals.

  • For example, a short-term academic goal may be to raise their history grade from a C to an B this grading period. A long-term goal may be to eliminating C’s from their report card or getting a few A’s in their strongest subjects.
  • Have the teenager write them down and evaluate progress as the semester continues.

Step 2 Give them incentives.

  • Pay them for their report cards. Pay a set dollar amount per A on your teenager’s report card.
  • Offer them a weekly allowance for staying on track with their schoolwork. Treat their schoolwork as a real job. If they do their job, they get paid.
  • Consider extending their weekend curfew as a reward for improved grades on their report card.

Step 3 Help your teenager see the bigger picture.

  • Be prepared to answer questions like, “Why do I need to learn algebra? I don’t want to be a math teacher and no one else uses algebra every day.” Give them clear examples of the algebra that you use every day, like when you pay your bills or do your taxes.

Step 4 Offer them encouragement.

  • Instead of saying, “Great job on your science fair project!” say something like, “Look at that science project! I can tell that you spent a lot of time making it look so great. Doesn’t it feel good to get such a good grade?”

Expert Q&A

Klare Heston, LCSW

  • Give them the space that they need to achieve success on their own. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Support them throughout their school career. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Teenagers with special needs like ADHD may need modifications to how they do their homework, such as playing music in the background. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Your teenager may fail. Let them learn from this. Thanks Helpful 6 Not Helpful 0

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  • ↑ https://www.verywell.com/tips-on-getting-teens-to-do-their-homework-2606505
  • ↑ http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/school-help-teens.html?WT.ac=p-ra#
  • ↑ https://understandingteenagers.com.au/the-7-secrets-of-motivating-teenagers/
  • ↑ https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/end-the-nightly-homework-struggle-5-homework-strategies-that-work-for-kids/#

About this article

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Candida Fink M.D.

Homework Struggles May Not Be a Behavior Problem

Exploring some options to understand and help..

Posted August 2, 2022 | Reviewed by Abigail Fagan

  • Mental health challenges and neurodevelopmental differences directly affect children's ability to do homework.
  • Understanding what difficulties are getting in the way—beyond the usual explanation of a behavior problem—is key.
  • Sleep and mental health needs can take priority over homework completion.

Chelsea was in 10th grade the first time I told her directly to stop doing her homework and get some sleep. I had been working with her since she was in middle school, treating her anxiety disorder. She deeply feared disappointing anyone—especially her teachers—and spent hours trying to finish homework perfectly. The more tired and anxious she got, the harder it got for her to finish the assignments.

Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock

One night Chelsea called me in despair, feeling hopeless. She was exhausted and couldn’t think straight. She felt like a failure and that she was a burden to everyone because she couldn’t finish her homework.

She was shocked when I told her that my prescription for her was to go to sleep now—not to figure out how to finish her work. I told her to leave her homework incomplete and go to sleep. We briefly discussed how we would figure it out the next day, with her mom and her teachers. At that moment, it clicked for her that it was futile to keep working—because nothing was getting done.

This was an inflection point for her awareness of when she was emotionally over-cooked and when she needed to stop and take a break or get some sleep. We repeated versions of this phone call several times over the course of her high school and college years, but she got much better at being able to do this for herself most of the time.

When Mental Health Symptoms Interfere with Homework

Kids with mental health or neurodevelopmental challenges often struggle mightily with homework. Challenges can come up in every step of the homework process, including, but not limited to:

  • Remembering and tracking assignments and materials
  • Getting the mental energy/organization to start homework
  • Filtering distractions enough to persist with assignments
  • Understanding unspoken or implied parts of the homework
  • Remembering to bring finished homework to class
  • Being in class long enough to know the material
  • Tolerating the fear of not knowing or failing
  • Not giving up the assignment because of a panic attack
  • Tolerating frustration—such as not understanding—without emotional dysregulation
  • Being able to ask for help—from a peer or a teacher and not being afraid to reach out

This list is hardly comprehensive. ADHD , autism spectrum disorder, social anxiety , generalized anxiety, panic disorder, depression , dysregulation, and a range of other neurodevelopmental and mental health challenges cause numerous learning differences and symptoms that can specifically and frequently interfere with getting homework done.

Saharak Wuttitham/Shutterstock

The Usual Diagnosis for Homework Problems is "Not Trying Hard Enough"

Unfortunately, when kids frequently struggle to meet homework demands, teachers and parents typically default to one explanation of the problem: The child is making a choice not to do their homework. That is the default “diagnosis” in classrooms and living rooms. And once this framework is drawn, the student is often seen as not trying hard enough, disrespectful, manipulative, or just plain lazy.

The fundamental disconnect here is that the diagnosis of homework struggles as a behavioral choice is, in fact, only one explanation, while there are so many other diagnoses and differences that impair children's ability to consistently do their homework. If we are trying to create solutions based on only one understanding of the problem, the solutions will not work. More devastatingly, the wrong solutions can worsen the child’s mental health and their long-term engagement with school and learning.

To be clear, we aren’t talking about children who sometimes struggle with or skip homework—kids who can change and adapt their behaviors and patterns in response to the outcomes of that struggle. For this discussion, we are talking about children with mental health and/or neurodevelopmental symptoms and challenges that create chronic difficulties with meeting homework demands.

How Can You Help a Child Who Struggles with Homework?

How can you help your child who is struggling to meet homework demands because of their ADHD, depression, anxiety, OCD , school avoidance, or any other neurodevelopmental or mental health differences? Let’s break this down into two broad areas—things you can do at home, and things you can do in communication with the school.

how to not be lazy to do homework

Helping at Home

The following suggestions for managing school demands at home can feel counterintuitive to parents—because we usually focus on helping our kids to complete their tasks. But mental health needs jump the line ahead of task completion. And starting at home will be key to developing an idea of what needs to change at school.

  • Set an end time in the evening after which no more homework will be attempted. Kids need time to decompress and they need sleep—and pushing homework too close to or past bedtime doesn’t serve their educational needs. Even if your child hasn’t been able to approach the homework at all, even if they have avoided and argued the whole evening, it is still important for everyone to have a predictable time to shut down the whole process.
  • If there are arguments almost every night about homework, if your child isn’t starting homework or finishing it, reframe it from failure into information. It’s data to put into problem-solving. We need to consider other possible explanations besides “behavioral choice” when trying to understand the problem and create effective solutions. What problems are getting in the way of our child’s meeting homework demands that their peers are meeting most of the time?
  • Try not to argue about homework. If you can check your own anxiety and frustration, it can be more productive to ally with your child and be curious with them. Kids usually can’t tell you a clear “why” but maybe they can tell you how they are feeling and what they are thinking. And if your child can’t talk about it or just keeps saying “I don't know,” try not to push. Come back another time. Rushing, forcing, yelling, and threatening will predictably not help kids do homework.


Helping at School

The second area to explore when your neurodiverse child struggles frequently with homework is building communication and connections with school and teachers. Some places to focus on include the following.

  • Label your child’s diagnoses and break down specific symptoms for the teachers and school team. Nonjudgmental, but specific language is essential for teachers to understand your child’s struggles. Breaking their challenges down into the problems specific to homework can help with building solutions. As your child gets older, help them identify their difficulties and communicate them to teachers.
  • Let teachers and the school team know that your child’s mental health needs—including sleep—take priority over finishing homework. If your child is always struggling to complete homework and get enough sleep, or if completing homework is leading to emotional meltdowns every night, adjusting their homework demands will be more successful than continuing to push them into sleep deprivation or meltdowns.
  • Request a child study team evaluation to determine if your child qualifies for services under special education law such as an IEP, or accommodations through section 504—and be sure that homework adjustments are included in any plan. Or if such a plan is already in place, be clear that modification of homework expectations needs to be part of it.

The Long-Term Story

I still work with Chelsea and she recently mentioned how those conversations so many years ago are still part of how she approaches work tasks or other demands that are spiking her anxiety when she finds herself in a vortex of distress. She stops what she is doing and prioritizes reducing her anxiety—whether it’s a break during her day or an ending to the task for the evening. She sees that this is crucial to managing her anxiety in her life and still succeeding at what she is doing.

Task completion at all costs is not a solution for kids with emotional needs. Her story (and the story of many of my patients) make this crystal clear.

Candida Fink M.D.

Candida Fink, M.D. , is board certified in child/adolescent and general psychiatry. She practices in New York and has co-authored two books— The Ups and Downs of Raising a Bipolar Child and Bipolar Disorder for Dummies.

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How to Stop Being Lazy in College (5 Steps)

College student sleeping on the floor

After my first year in college, I started to feel too lazy to do anything. So, I did some research to figure out how to stop being lazy in college.

So how do you stop being lazy in college? Create a daily schedule that focuses on being productive early on so that you have free time to do things you enjoy. Following this type of schedule teaches you how to value and manage your time.

There’s a lot to think about when creating a daily schedule, but don’t worry. I’ll provide you with all the information you need to get started.

Step 1. Outlining your daily schedule

The first step is outlining your daily routine. This is going to look very similar to a school schedule. Here is a sample outline that I created using Microsoft Excel.

how to not be lazy to do homework

You can recreate this outline using any writing tool. If you’d like, you can even use a piece of paper or whiteboard. To save you some time, here is a link to download the outline I created. You can also create your own outline if you’d like, but I wouldn’t spend too much time on it. The simpler the better.

If you want to get a little more detailed with your schedule, you can use half-hour increments instead of full-hour increments. For example:

how to not be lazy to do homework

I prefer using full-hour increments because it’s short and easy on the eyes.

Did you know? A lot of productive people follow a daily schedule. Mark Wahlberg is a perfect example . Click here to see the daily schedules of other celebrities.

Step 2. Fill in your mandatory schedule

The next step is filling in your mandatory schedule. This is everything you know you have to do on a daily basis. The first thing you should fill in is your school schedule. Be sure to include the time it takes to commute to and from school.

The next thing you should fill in is your sleep schedule. Most experts say that healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep . However, because you are a college student, I know you probably get around six. Unfortunately, being sleep deprived can cause you to be lazy . Stop staying up so late every night!

Next, fill in anything else you have to do on a daily basis, including getting ready for school. Do you have to pick up your sibling from school every day? Do you attend church on Sundays?

You can get as specific as you’d like! For example, if you groom yourself every Sunday night, don’t hesitate to fill it in.

Here’s what your schedule might look like so far:

how to not be lazy to do homework

Step 3. Fill in time to be productive

You’re doing great! Keep following along and I promise you’ll stop being lazy in college. The next step is to fill in time to be productive. This is the time you’ll allocate to finish homework, do some studying, chores, run errands, work on your side project, and so on.

Must read: 5 Steps to Start a College Student Side Project (With Example)

The number of hours you want to allocate to your productive time is entirely up to you. Let’s say you have 11 free hours for a specific day on your daily schedule. Try allocating just 4 of those hours to be productive and see how it goes. Remember, you can always make adjustments later on.

how to not be lazy to do homework

You should now have 4 hours filled in on your schedule for productivity time. However, keep in mind that you may not need all 4 hours to take care of your responsibilities. The sooner you finish, the more time you have to do other things. This is a great thing to keep in mind when you’re trying to stop being lazy in college. Finish your work now so that you can have fun later.

If you don’t complete what you needed to do during your productivity time, you may have to cut into your free time, which I’ll explain in the next step. This is why it’s going to be super important to take your productivity time seriously.

Also, make sure you’re being reasonable during your productivity time. Don’t work for 6 hours straight after going to school for 6 hours. Take a short break and grab some food and drinks whenever you need them. Just don’t go to the local carnival when you haven’t studied for a test you have the next day.

Step 4. Allocate your free time

Now’s the fun part, allocating your free time. Always allocate your free after your productivity time. I’m going to say it again. DO NOT allocate free time before your productivity time.

There’s nothing more satisfying than taking care of your responsibilities and then having the remainder of your day to do whatever you’d like.

Using the same example from step three, you should have 4 hours of productivity time and another 7 hours of free time (empty spaces). After using the washroom, talking to friends and family, grabbing food, going on social media and so on, you’re realistically left with 4-5 hours of real free time.

how to not be lazy to do homework

This should still be more than enough time to have fun. Feel free to play games, watch movies, hang out with friends, and go for pizza.

If you have absolutely nothing to do during your free time, get productive. Take care of all your responsibilities in the upcoming week or even month! If you haven’t already, start a fun side project that’ll help you gain valuable experience and skills.

Step 5. Commit to your schedule no matter what

Now that you finished filling in your daily schedule, have it somewhere you can easily access. You could:

  • Take a screenshot or picture and save it on your phone
  • Save it on your computer or laptop
  • Print it out and keep it in your backpack

If you created your schedule by hand, for example on a piece of paper or whiteboard, place it somewhere you’ll see as soon as you wake up.

I can’t stress how important it is to commit to your schedule no matter what. I don’t care if you feel extra lazy or a little sick one day. Stick to your schedule for at least 2 months so that it becomes a habit .

You want to get to the point where straying off your schedule makes you feel uncomfortable. When someone asks you to go out for drinks during your productivity time, you’ll tell them you can’t because you’re busy. If you ever get to this point, it’ll be safe to say that you’re no longer a lazy college student.

The first couple of weeks

You’re going to make changes to your schedule during the first couple of weeks, and that’s fine. Keep making changes until you are comfortable and happy with the results.

Sticking to your schedule is going to be difficult at first because you won’t be used to it. Just do your best to hang in there. After a while, you’re going to love how it feels. Here’s a list of benefits to sticking with this type of schedule. You’ll:

  • Know exactly what your days look like
  • Learn to be more productive and stop procrastinating
  • Manage your time more efficiently
  • Feel rewarded whenever you have free time
  • No longer lie around when you have lots of work to do
  • Most importantly, stop being lazy in college

Overall, you’re learning how to value your time. Remember, time is one thing you’ll never get back in your life.

What if unexpected events arise?

From time to time, you’re going to have unexpected events that arise out of nowhere. I know this can be very inconvenient, but sometimes you just don’t have a choice.

When unexpected events arise, you may have to:

  • Add more productivity time which means less free time
  • Sleep less during that night and make it up the next day
  • Work faster to stay on schedule

Whatever you decide to do, don’t let unexpected events break your daily routine. You can always find a way to make things work.

If you follow the 5 steps in this guide, you are no longer going to be lazy in college. It’s going to be very difficult at first, but if you stick to it, you’ll thank yourself later.

If you have any questions or comments about anything I talked about in this guide, make sure to leave a comment down below.

What did you think about this blog? Comment below! Also,  subscribe to my newsletter  for updates on new content, including videos on YouTube!

Andy Nguyen

Andy Nguyen is the owner of YourCollegeBlog. Learn more about him at https://yourcollegeblog.com/about/.

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how to not be lazy to do homework

3 steps for overcoming student laziness

3 steps for overcoming student laziness

“Today I don’t feel like doing anything. I just wanna lay in my bed” – Bruno Mars (The Lazy Song)

Ah, the classic lazy syndrome…let’s not lie, it’s something we all feel from time to time. For some of us, it’s actually how we feel EVERY TIME a task is presented – It can wait. Netflix and chill for just a little longer . But unfortunately, laziness can be a real grade-killer. It sucks the fun out of studying and makes us work overtime. Not to mention, it causes unnecessary stress, and in extreme cases, can even destroy our surrounding relationships. Going hand-in-hand with procrastination, laziness fills any task with dread and prohibits our potential as successful individuals.

What exactly precipitates us to be lazy and to prioritize leisure before work? Why are we excited to play videogames or watch movies, but the mere thought of any form of studying triggers thoughts of self-pity and despair? Studies show there are multiple factors that discourage us from getting off our butts and finishing tasks at hand, but among the top few are those most familiar to us.

The lack of motivation, no sense of urgency, and a fear of stepping outside our comfort zones represent factors that lull us into laziness. That being said, the answer to overcoming our slothfulness may be something we’ve heard one too many times…

“I will always find a lazy person to do the job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” – Bill Gates

Even Bill Gates, considered one of the most successful people on the planet, recognises a lazy person’s true potential.

So what’s the secret to unlocking said potential? What is the ultimate secret to overcoming laziness and not just achieving, but thrashing our goals? The truth is…


That’s right! We said it! You have to get out of your comfort zone, put in a significant amount of effort and make a change in your lifestyle to overcome lazy habits. Research shows that the top habits of successful students include planning your study and assignments, avoiding procrastination and eliminating distractions. With these hefty truth bombs dropped, we do have some measure of freedom to create our journey in overcoming laziness. Here are three steps students can take to (actually) overcome laziness.

1. Unleash the Beast!

Unleash your hidden energy by getting excited about the future possibilities. The first step to overcoming laziness is to GET OUT of your rut. Picture your goals and write them down. Focus on where you want to be one year from now. Stop whining about what ‘should have been’ and focus on what ‘could be’. To kick-start your engine, watch motivational videos and listen to success stories such as Elon Musk and Richard Branson.

Consider today to be a fresh start to unlimited opportunities. If your success is measured in scoring straight A’s in all your courses, visualize and start planning. Planning your goals also requires a definite timeline and measurable results. Start with baby steps. Rome wasn’t built in a day so you don’t need to rush your goals. Create a safe space for you to grow and achieve your intended results. Once you are high on the rush of what’s to come, move to clearing clutter in every facet of life. Be it your room, your computer, or most importantly – your mind. Throw out the unused and unwanted clutter that may be hindering your progress. A bad habit like overeating, a distraction such as your favourite videogame, or even negativity in the form of bad company – it’s all gotta’ go!

2. Pull up your socks!

Once clutter is cleared, it’s time to hit full throttle. Time to pull up those socks! This crucial step is where self-discipline comes in. Warning: it’s uncomfortable, tedious, and sometimes even painful. But in the long run, discipline is what brings you success.

Start by saying NO to temporary pleasures; Facebooking when you should be studying, playing basketball when you should be completing the assignment due on Monday, or watching another episode of The Walking Dead when you should be preparing for tomorrow’s quiz. Deny yourself momentary enjoyment for future success.

Along with saying NO to temporary pleasures, we also strive to instil good habits . Do vast reading on the habits of successful people. Read biographies of famous people and historical events. Keep to your schedule. Get a good night’s rest and start your morning by fixing a healthy breakfast. Outline your timetable and be detailed and deliberate about it. In every way possible, stick to the timetable down to the minute.

Keep your emotions in check . The younger you are, the more volatile your emotions. As laziness and emotion are correlated, we have to make sure our emotions are not the deciding factors to our actions. Don’t put off the day’s tasks of the day just because you “don’t feel like doing them”. Remember that when the going gets tough, the tough get going . It also helps greatly to work smart. Working smart means thinking creatively on how to manage your time as a student. Consult fellow students who achieve good grades and ask them how they do it. Pick up valuable tips and try them. Rest assured, you’ll gain much more than just the strength to overcome the demon that is your laziness.

3. Be sure to self-review

When moving forward, it’s always good to take a glance back at the past. With every small step you take to fight laziness, look back and see how far you have come. As time goes on, you’ll look back on everything you’ve achieved, fighting back that laziness and making sweet, sweet progress. Not only will this build confidence, it will also drive you to succeed as an honourable student. After the self-check, it’s important that you reward yourself accordingly.

Laziness is a negative, almost parasitic trait we must all fight to overcome. For some of us, it takes a while to truly win the battle. But have faith that you can do it! Follow these 3 steps and soon your laziness will be but a figment of the past.

This article was written by Joel Vijay from  iPrice  Group

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Home / Expert Articles / Child Behavior Problems / School & Homework

“My Child Refuses to Do Homework” — How to Stop the Nightly Struggle Over Schoolwork

By janet lehman, msw.

how to not be lazy to do homework

For many parents, getting their kids to do their homework is a nightly struggle. Some kids refuse to do their homework. Others claim that they don’t have homework, but then the report card comes out, and you realize that their work was not being done.

So why is homework time so difficult? In my opinion, one of the major reasons is that it’s hard for kids to focus at home. Look at it this way: when your child is in school, they’re in a classroom where there aren’t a lot of distractions. The learning is structured and organized, and all the students are focusing on the same thing.

But when your child comes home, their brain clicks over to “free time” mode. In their mind, home is a place to relax, have a snack, listen to music, and play video games. Kids simply don’t view the home as the place to do schoolwork.

If the homework struggles you experience are part of a larger pattern of acting out behavior, then the child is resisting to get power over you. They intend to do what they want to do when they want to do it, and homework just becomes another battlefield. And, as on any other battlefield, parents can use tactics that succeed or tactics that fail.

Regardless of why your child won’t do their homework, know that fighting over it is a losing proposition for both of you. You will end up frustrated, angry, and exhausted, and your child will have found yet another way to push your buttons. And, even worse, they will wind up hating school and hating learning.

A major part of getting your child to do their homework lies in establishing a system so that your child comes to see that homework is just a regular part of home life. Once they accept that, you’ve already won half the battle. Accordingly, my first few tips are around setting up this system. If you get the system right, things tend to fall into place.

Put this system in place with your child at a time when things are calm and going well rather than during the heat of an argument. Tell your child that you’re going to try something different starting next week with homework that will make it go better for everyone. Then explain the system.

You’ll find that this system will make your life easier as a parent, will make you more effective as a parent, and will help your child to get the work done. And when your child gets their work done, they’re more likely to succeed, and nothing drives motivation more than success.

Structure the Evening for Homework

When your kids come home, there should be a structure and a schedule set up each night. I recommend that you write this up and post it on the refrigerator or in some central location in the house. Kids need to know that there is a time to eat, a time to do homework, and also that there is free time. And remember, free time starts after homework is done.

Homework time should be a quiet time in your whole house. Siblings shouldn’t be in the next room watching TV or playing video games. The whole idea is to eliminate distractions. The message to your child is, “You’re not going to do anything anyway, so you might as well do your homework.”

Even if your child doesn’t have homework some nights, homework time should still mean no phone and no electronics. Instead, your child can read a book or a magazine in their room or work on longer-term assignments. Consistently adhering to the homework time structure is important to instill the homework habit.

Start the Evening Homework Habit When Your Kids are Young

If your children are younger and they don’t get homework yet, set aside quiet time each evening where your child can read or do some type of learning. Doing so will help children understand that evening quiet and study time is a part of everyday home life, just like chores. This habit will pay off when the real homework begins.

Use a Public Place for Homework

For a lot of kids, sending them to their rooms to do their homework is a mistake. Many children need your presence to stay focused and disciplined. And they need to be away from the stuff in their rooms that can distract them.

You know your child best. If you think they’re not being productive in their room, then insist they work at the kitchen table or in some other room where you can monitor them and where there will be fewer distractions.

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If they do homework in their room, the door to the room should be open, and you should check in from time to time. No text messaging, no fooling around. Take the phone and laptop away and eliminate electronics from the room during study time. In short, you want to get rid of all the temptations and distractions.

Give Breaks During Homework Time

Many kids get tired halfway through homework time, and that’s when they start acting up. If your child is doing an hour of homework, have them take a 5-minute break every half-hour so that they can get up, have a snack, and stretch their legs. But don’t allow electronics during the break—electronics are just too distracting.

Monitor the break and ensure that your child gets back to work promptly.

Be sure to encourage your child when they’re discouraged. It’s okay to say things like:

“I know it’s a drag, but think of this—when you get your work done, the rest of the night is yours.”

“Look, if you do your work all week, you’ll have the whole weekend to do what you want.”

Show your child empathy—how many of us truly enjoyed homework every night? It’s work, pure and simple. But your child will be encouraged when they begin to have success with their work.

Help Your Child Get Started With Their Homework

Some kids have a hard time getting assignments started. They may be overwhelmed or unsure where to begin. Or the work may seem too difficult.

There’s a concept I explain in The Total Transformation® child behavior program called hurdle help . If you have a child who has a hard time getting started, spend the first five minutes with them to get them over the first couple of hurdles. Perhaps help them with the first math problem or make sure they understand the assignment.

For many kids who are slow starters, hurdle help is very effective. This doesn’t mean you are doing their homework for them—this is simply extra help designed to get them going on their own.

Help Your Child Manage Long-Term Assignments

If your child has a big, long-term project, then you want to work with them to estimate how much time it’s going to take. Then your child has to work within that time frame. So if your child has a science project, help them manage and structure their time. For instance, if the project is due in 30 days, ask them:

“How much time are you going to spend on it each night?”

They might say, “15 minutes a night,” and you hold them to that.

Don’t assume that your child knows how to manage their time effectively. As adults, we sometimes take for granted the habits we have spent a lifetime developing and forget that our kids are not there yet.

Make Sunday Night a School Night

The way that I structure the weekend is that Sunday night is a school night, not Friday. So if your child has homework for the weekend, and as long as they’re done all their work for the past week, they get Friday and Saturday night off and can do their homework on Sunday night.

If there’s a project or something big to do over the weekend, then work with your child to budget their time. They may have to put some time in on Saturday or Sunday during the day. But other than that, your child should have the weekend off too, just like adults do.

The Weekend Doesn’t Begin Until Overdue Work Is Done

If your child has overdue homework, their weekend shouldn’t begin until those assignments are done. In other words, Friday night is a homework night if their week’s work is not complete.

Believe me, this is a highly effective consequence for kids because it creates a great incentive to get their work done. Indeed, each minute they’re doing homework is a minute they could be hanging out with friends or playing video games.

If you can hold to this rule once and deal with the complaining, then next week the homework will be done.

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By the way, if they say they can’t do their homework because they didn’t bring their school books home, they should be grounded for the weekend. You can say:

“I don’t want to hear that you can’t do it because you don’t have your books. You’d better call around and find a friend who you can borrow them from. Otherwise, you’ll be staying in this weekend.”

Make Homework a Higher Priority Than Activities

Kids are involved in a lot of after school activities these days. I understand that. But my priority has always been “homework comes first.”

In my opinion, if the homework isn’t done on Monday, then your child shouldn’t go to football on Tuesday. It’s fine if he misses a practice or two. You can say:

“Here’s the deal. We’re not going to football today. You need to get your work done first.”

If your child says, “Well, if I miss a practice, I’m going to get thrown off the team,” You can say:

“Well, then make sure your work is complete. Otherwise, you’re not going to practice. That’s all there is to it.”

I personally don’t put football, soccer, or any other extracurricular activities above homework and home responsibilities. I don’t believe parents should be going from soccer to karate to basketball with their kids while homework and school responsibilities are being neglected.

Use Rewards for Schoolwork, Not Bribes

Most kids get personal satisfaction out of getting good grades and completing their work, and that’s what we’re aiming for. Nevertheless, it’s important to reinforce positive behavior, and that may mean offering an incentive for getting good grades. For instance, my son knew that he would get a certain reward for his performance if he got all B’s or above. The reward was an incentive to do well.

One of the shortcuts we take as parents is to bribe our kids rather than rewarding them for performance. It can be a subtle difference. A reward is something that is given after an achievement. A bribe is something you give your child after negotiating with them over something that is already a responsibility.

If you bribe your child to do their homework or to do anything else that is an expected responsibility, then your child will come to expect something extra just for behaving appropriately. Bribes undermine your parental authority as kids learn that they can get things from you by threatening bad behavior. Bribes put your child in charge of you.

The appropriate parental response to not meeting a responsibility is a consequence, not a bribe. A bribe says, “If you do your homework, I will extend your curfew by an hour.” In contrast, a consequence says, “If you don’t do your homework, you’re grounded until it’s finished.” Never bribe your kids to do what they’re expected to do.

Use Effective Consequences

When giving consequences, be sure they’re effective consequences. What makes an effective consequence? An effective consequence motivates your child to good behavior. They put you back in control and teach your child how to problem-solve, giving your child the skills needed to be successful.

An effective consequence looks like this:

“If you fall below a B average, then you can no longer study in your room and must study at the kitchen table until you get your average back to a B.”

For the child who prefers to study in their room, this is an effective consequence.

Another effective consequence would be the following:

“If you choose not to study during the scheduled time, you will lose your electronics for the night. Tomorrow, you’ll get another chance to use them.”

And the next day, your child gets to try again to earn the privilege of electronics. Short-term consequences like this are very effective. Just don’t take away this privilege for more than a day as your child will have no incentive to do better the next time.

For more on consequences, read the article on how to give effective consequences to your child .

Be Prepared to Let Your Child Fail

Failure should be an option, and sometimes you just have to let your child fail . Parents often do their kids a disservice when they shield them from the consequences of their actions. If your child chooses not to study enough and they get a failing grade, that’s the natural consequence for their behavior. And they should experience the discomfort that results from their behavior.

Let me be clear. If you interfere and try to get your child’s teacher to change their grade, your child will learn the wrong lesson. Your child will learn that if they screw up enough, Mom and Dad will take care of them. And they don’t learn their math or science or whatever it is they failed.

To be sure, failing is a hard lesson, but it’s the right lesson when your child fails. And it’s not the end of the world. In fact, for many kids, it’s what turns them around.

Don’t Fight with Your Child Over Homework

Don’t get sucked into arguments with your child about homework. Make it very clear that if they don’t do their homework, then the next part of their night does not begin. Keep discussions simple. Say to your child:

“Right now is homework time. The sooner you get it done, the sooner you can have free time.”

Say this in a supportive way with a smile on your face. Again, it’s important not to get sucked into fights with your child. Remember, you don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to. If your child refuses to do his or her work, then calmly give the consequence that you established for not doing homework.

Also, trying to convince your child that grades are important is a losing battle. You can’t make your child take school as seriously as you do. The truth is, they don’t typically think that way. To get your child to do homework, focus on their behavior, not their motivation. Rather than giving a lecture, just maintain the system that enables them to get their work done. Often, the motivation comes after the child has had a taste of success, and this system sets them up for that success.

Stay Calm When Helping Your Child With Their Homework

It’s important to be calm when helping your child with their homework. Don’t argue about the right answer for the math problem or the right way to do the geography quiz. If you get frustrated and start yelling and screaming at your child, this sets a negative tone and won’t help them get the work done. It’s better to walk away than it is to engage in an argument, even when you’re just trying to be helpful.

For couples, it may be that one of you is more patient and acceptable to your child. Let that person take on the homework monitoring responsibilities. And don’t take it personally if it isn’t you.

Remember, if you can’t stay calm when helping your child, or if you find that your help is making the situation worse, then it’s better not to help at all. Find someone else or talk to the teacher about how your child can get the help they need. And try not to blame your child for the frustration that you feel.

It’s Your Child’s Homework, Not Yours

Remember that your child is doing the homework as a school assignment. The teacher will ultimately be the judge of how good or bad, correct or incorrect the work is. You’re not responsible for the work itself; your job is to guide your child. You can always make suggestions, but ultimately it’s your child’s job to do their assignments. And it’s the teacher’s job to grade them.

Know the Teachers and the Assignments

Build good relationships with your child’s teachers. Meet with the teachers at the beginning of the school year and stay in touch as the year progresses. Your relationships with your child’s teachers will pay off if your child begins to have problems.

And if your child does have problems, then communicate with their teachers weekly. If they’re not handing in their work on time, ask the teachers to send you any assignments that they didn’t get done each week. Many schools have assignments available online, which is a big help for parents. Just don’t rely on your child to give you accurate information. Find out for yourself.

The bottom line is that you want to hold your child accountable for doing their work, and you can only do that if you know what the work is. If you keep yourself informed, then you won’t be surprised when report cards come out.

Work with your child on a system to keep track of assignments. I recommend an old-fashioned paper calendar simply because we already have too many distracting electronics in our lives—experiment and use what works best for your child.

Finally, try to see your child’s teachers as your allies. In my experience, most teachers are dedicated and caring, but I realize that this isn’t always the case. So, for your child’s sake, do your best to find a way to work with their teachers.

If You Think Your Child Might Have a Learning Disability

Kids are expected to do some difficult work, and your child may struggle. If your child is having an especially hard time, talk with their teacher. Ask if it’s typical for your child to be struggling in this area.

In some cases, the teacher may recommend testing to see if your child has a learning disability. While this can be hard to hear as a parent, it’s important to find out so that you can make the necessary adjustments.

If it turns out that your child does have a learning disability, then you want to get an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) set up with the school.

Most kids don’t enjoy homework, and for some, it will always be a struggle. Our children all have different strengths and abilities, and while some may never be excellent students, they might be great workers, talented artists, or thoughtful builders.

I have to admit that dealing with my son’s homework was one of my least favorite experiences as a parent. It was overwhelming at times. Often, I just wasn’t equipped to offer the help he needed.

Our son struggled with a learning disability, which made the work feel unending at times. My husband James was much better at helping him, so he took on this responsibility. But even with this division of labor, we had to make adjustments to our schedules, our lives, and our expectations to make sure our son did his homework as expected.

Life would be easier if all children were self-motivated students who came home, sat down, and dug into their homework without being asked. This is hardly the case, though. Therefore, you need to set up a system that is right for your child, and it’s going to be easier for some kids than for others.

We’re trying to raise our kids to be responsible and accountable for their homework. And we’re trying to avoid fighting with them over it every night. When I had parents in my office, I would take these concepts and show them how they could make it work for their families in their own homes. The families I worked with were able to turn the nightly homework struggle around successfully time and time again.

Related content: The Homework Battle: How to Get Children to Do Homework

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About Janet Lehman, MSW

Janet Lehman, MSW, has worked with troubled children and teens for over 30 years. A veteran social worker, she specializes in child behavior issues — ranging from anger management and oppositional defiance to more serious criminal behavior in teens. She is co-creator of The Total Transformation® Program , The Complete Guide To Consequences™ , Getting Through To Your Child™ , and Two Parents One Plan™ .

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Hello, my grandson recently moved with me from another state. He is currently in 8th grade (but should be in 9th). He basically failed the last 2 years and was promoted. I would say he is at a 6th grade level. It's a daily fight with him to do his homework. He won't even try. I know a lot of this is because no one has ever made him do his homework before. I thought he would just have to get in a routine of doing it. He's been in school for a month now and its a fight every single day after school. I have lost all the patience I had. I am tired of being a broken record and being the "bad guy". I don't want to give up on him and send him back to his mom, where I know he will never graduate. I have made so many sacrifices to get him here, but I am literally at my wits end with this. I knew it wasn't going to be easy but I didn't think it was going to be this hard.

My rule is homework after school. If he comes home and does his homework after school, it was easier for him to complete. That lasted a week and a half. Now, he just sits there and does nothing. Does anyone have any suggestions? I couldn't live with myself if I sent him back and he became nothing but a drop out. I know I am not one to have patience, and I am trying but at the same time, I am almost over it. I don't like going to bed crying and knowing that he is crying too. I am open to all suggestions. Please and thank you.

how to not be lazy to do homework

I'm so sorry you are facing these struggles with your grandson. We here from many caregivers in similar situations, so you're not alone in your frustration. We have several articles that offer helpful tips for managing these homework struggles, which can be found here: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/child-behavior-problems/school-homework/

We appreciate you reaching out and wish you all the best moving forward. Be sure to check back and let us know how things are going.

Jessicar Thank you for this article and strategies. I echo many of the frustrations expressed by other parents here, including my opinion (as an educator) that homework should not exist. I agree that teachers and parents are in a struggle about which adult is responsible for supporting the child in getting More homework done. The best thing for my son was a free "homework club" in fourth and fifth grade where a teacher monitored completion of homework. He has nothing like this in middle school so far. Where I really disagree with the article is about extracurricular activities. Kids need physical activity through sports! They need enrichment beyond academics through the arts, theater, music. Many families send their children to religious, language, and/or cultural programs after school. If I sat in school all day, I'd want to move my body and interact with others too. The solution is not removing extracurricular activities that are healthy or motivating or valued. The solution is for schools to limit homework. Given that there is still homework as a reality--I'd like advice on when to have child do homework AFTER sports or extracurricular activity. When is the best time for homework if the goal is to go to bed on time (in my house in bed around 9 pm)? Between extracurricular and dinner--when the kid is tired? After dinner? My child is in 7th grade and I still can't figure it out. What do others do/think?

I found school to be extremely boring, as a teen. Looking back I realize that I hadn't found the work challenging enough. Personally, I struggled with this all through high school. I was completely disinterested in school, as a result.

I noticed that there wasn't a section addressing situations where children, who are motivated by challenges, do poorly as a result of boredom.

I enjoy reading many of the articles; even those which don't necessarily apply to my current situations with my child. One never knows what obstacles or challenges one may come across. Thank you

Here's what I know. Correcting our children when their behavior is displeasing is what most parents focus on. Without a lot of explanation I'm going to try to get you to change your focus. All children have 4 emotional needs:

1. A sense of belonging

2. A sense of personal power

3. To be heard and understood

4. Limits and boundaries

Rather than focus on your child's behavior, focus on meeting these needs. Meet the needs, change the behavior. There a 25 ways to meet these needs. One of the most effective is to spend regular one-on-one time with your child doing what your child wants to do. How do you spell love? T-I-M-E. It seems counter-intuitive, but just try it for a week. Do this for 1/2 hour every day for a week. See what happens.

Frustrated Confused Parent, I went through similar challenges with my son when he was in high school. As a grade school student his grades were always B and higher. The changes began when his mother and I separated; my son was 12yo. Prior to our separation I was the one who maintained, and enforced the habit of completing his assignments before extracurricular activities could be enjoyed. His mother never felt she had the patience or intelligence to assist him with his homework assignments and upon our separation she completely ignored his school work. Although he continued to follow the structure I had established through grade school, he soon began to realize that no one was showing interest any longer and, thus, began shirking school related responsibilities. My son and I were, and still are, close. I am certain that the separation likely had some affect on him, but it was more than that. He was reaching his teens and becoming more self-aware. Friends began to play a more integral and influential part in his life. Unfortunately my son's grades began slipping as he reached his early teens. For me, this was extremely frustrating since I was aware of how intelligent he was and of what he was capable. After many aggravating, lengthy, heated, and unyielding conversations with his mother about maintaining the structure established through grade school, it became clear she was incapable or simply unwilling. Essentially, he was on his own. Of course I would do whatever I could to help. For starters, I facilitated a transfer to a Charter School, realizing that he needed more individualized attention than that which a public school could provide. It seemed as though he was getting 'lost in the shuffle'.

Unfortunately the damage had already been done. After two years under his mother's lack of tutelage my son had developed some poor habits.

He struggled with maintaining good grades throughout his high school career. By 'maintaining good grades' I mean that he would take a grading of 45 in math and bring it to a 70 within three weeks of the end of a marking period. He ALWAYS passed, though. He would somehow get his grades to or even above passing by the end of the period. As I began to see this, I began to have more faith knowing that when the going got tough he would step up and take charge. It also indicated that he did well with what might perceive as an impossible goal. So, I started to have faith that he'd find his way.

He has since graduated, he has a good-paying job, and he is beginning school to become an electrician within the next month or so. In two weeks he moves into his own apartment, also. He's never done drugs, never drank alcohol, and never started smoking cigarettes. All of which I have done as a teen and well into my adult years. I am in recovery. My son is aware of my own struggles. Most importantly, I believe, is that he has a complete understanding that we all struggle in our own ways. Working through the difficulties, challenges, and obstacles are what makes us stronger and it's our compassion for others, and ourselves, which help us grow into decent adults.

I came to realize that the 'grades' he received in school had nothing to do with the amazing adult he's become; it was literally everything else.

NanaRound2 My 6 year old grandson has just taken 2 hours to write a list and write 3 sentences. He thinks if the words were shorter it wouldn't take so long. Already went through this with his dad. I celebrated more than he did when he graduated. Can't drag More another kid through school. Losing my mind and like the previous comment have tried EVERYTHING.

Yeah -been there, done that. Doesn't work. At least not for my child. I've read every *actual* parenting book out there ( You know, the books publishes by Harvard & Stanford professors who've been studying parenting and child psychology for the past 30 years?) ... and you're all missing something - because I've tried it all.

My kid DGAF. This was almost painful to read. "oh, yup - tried that one. That one too. Oh, hey - I've tried that as well."

This is so frustrating; tell me something I haven't already tried 50 times.

Psych Fan I'm with you my sophomore son DGAF . I tried so much stuff even set time stuff and he just doesn't go get his work out. He's 5'9 so I am 5'1 and I can't move him to do stuff . All he does is debate with me that More Grades really don't matter that he's like I'm just going to get D's because I'm not going to care to do better because I do not like school. He doesn't understand why I don't approve of D grades because I know he has better potential but he's like D grades I will pass and get my diploma .

The first thing on the list is to try and stay calm. While doing homework with my children I'm usually very calm. When I do get frustrated I'll leave the room for a moment, wash my face, and take a few deep breaths until I calm down. Or I'll make hot chocolate to help calm my nerves. It's not a perfect system, but what is?

Number two is to set clear expectations around homework time and responsibilities. We have a standard homework time at our house, with a timer and everything. If our kids meet the homework time goal they'll be rewarded later in the evening with family time. Each of our kids know their roles and responsibilities in the house whether the work gets done before dinner or not.

Number three is a relationship with the teachers, each of whom e-mail us, some two or three times a day. Contact with them has never been better. They're teachers are all pretty awesome too.

Number Four, play the parental role most useful to your child...I have three kids. One needs no help at all, one needs minor help and advisement, while the third requires constant supervision or their e-mail might 'accidentally' open up. This we've provided through double teaming. One parent works with them until the other gets home, then they switch while the other goes to make dinner.

Five, keep activities similar with all your kids. We all live on the same schedule, if one of them finishes homework early they get the reward of extra quiet reading time-my kids are ALL book worms.

Six, Set up a structured time and place for homework. Done. Homework table with a supplies basket right in the middle of the room. Big enough for all of them to work at and then some, it's an octagonal table which my husband built. I also always have their 'homework snacks' waiting for them when they get home, and I usually try to make it healthy-even if they don't realize it.

Seven, start early. My kids have been doing 'homework' with me since they were babies, and (as I pointed out to them yesterday) they loved it. We'd learn about cooking, dinosaurs, amphibians, insects, math, English, chemistry, even the periodic table came up. We'd do work pages every day and they'd love it.

Eight, hurdle help, works in area's like math, but not so much with history or English when the problems aren't as straight forward. But we do use this method where it applies.

Nine, choose the best person for the job. I'm best at English and my husband at math. When I get stuck on math I know who to go to, and I'll even study in my spare time to get better at it so I can be more useful in case he has to work late. That being said, we both devote a lot of our time to helping our kids with their homework.

Ten, show empathy and support. Done, not only can I relate to my kids, but I've pointed out that not getting their work done will make them feel bad bad enough, and that that's why we should work on getting it done together, so they have something to be proud of.

Use positive reinforcement and incentives. :) There was this one time I sat my son down at a table with a work book about 400 pages long. He was young, not even in school yet. Next to the book I placed a giant bag of M&Ms. I told him for every page he got done, he could have one m&m. About ten minutes later he finished the workbook and grinned up at me. When I found out he'd finished the book, I quickly checked it to see if it was done well, and then pushed the bag of M&M's towards him and told him he could just have it...Now they get rewarded in video games and computer time...

It seems that according to this article I'm doing everything right...So why is my child still struggling with homework/classwork? They've literally just refused to do it. Have seriously just sat in their chair without saying a word and stared at the table, or desk, or screen- as the majority of work is now done on computers...I'll sit with them, ask them if they need help, try to help them with problems. They will tell me the right answer to the questions being asked and then refuse to write it down. I feel like I've done everything I can as a parent to help them, but despite all my efforts, it isn't working. So...when all of these things fail, when a parent has done everything right, and there is nothing more they can do short of taking the pen or pencil into their own hands and doing it themselves, (but that would be cheating their child out of an education) what then should the parents do?

When our kids don't get their homework done before dinner, they're sent down the hall where it's quiet so they can finish it at the desk there, while the other kids have family time. They are told to come and get us if they really need help after that. But at this point it's like ostracizing our child for not doing homework.

I agree with most of what's on this page, and our family lifestyle reflects that, but I will disagree with one thing it said. It is our job to help our kids and be supportive of them yes, to nurture them and help them get the skills they need to take care of themselves and their home when they're older...but it is not our job to do the teachers work for them, they get paid for that. Some days it seems like that's what's expected of parents. Some even send home classwork if the kids don't finish it in class. Which means the child now has even more work to do on top of their homework. Though I understand that the teachers want the child to finish the lesson, and were the homework not a factor I probably wouldn't mind it as much. I don't even mind them sending home study guides to help kids before tests (Which is what homework was originally) but to send home overwhelming piles of work each night for parents to help kids with, (Each child with different homework so that parents need to bounce from history, to math to English) it's unreasonable. When teachers send home homework, they're dictating what the parents can do with the little time they have with their child. Which is wrong. We once had to cancel a trip to a science museum because our child had too much homework to finish and there was no way to make it in time and get their homework done. They could have had an amazing educational experience which would overall help them get excited about learning with new and fun tactile experiences, but their schedule (and therefore our schedule) was being dictated by the teacher while they weren't even in class. Of course I try not to talk bad about homework in front of my children, because that would make it even more difficult to get them to do it. But children NEED family time, they NEED to be kids. To be allowed to get away from their work and be themselves, to go outside and play with their friends, or even go out to dinner once in a while with their parents. Homework has made it difficult to grow a relationship with our children beyond the confines of what the teachers are dictating. It's violating in some ways and frustrating in others. It's grown into this monstrous thing which it was never meant to become, and the funny part about it is that most studies done on it show that schools who don't have homework have higher test scores and graduation rates. Not to mention better mental health rates. Studies also show, that after a child is taught something, they'll only really learn it after a good nights sleep, and that no amount of homework will change that. Sleep is what our bodies need to absorb important information we learn throughout the day, so staying up late with homework might even be harmful to a child's education...

Sorry I guess that turned into a bit of a rant...In the end I was hoping to find something useful in this article, something I hadn't tried that might work, but I've done it all, and will probably continue to do all of it in hopes that consistency might be the key...It's just that even after years of already doing All of this consistently, it's still not working. It's as if my child has made a conscious decision Not to work. He's not unintelligent, he understands it, he's even been tested and found to have an above average ability to learn. He just not doing it..So what now? What more can I do to actually inspire him to do the work?

AshumSmashum Out of all of this, most of which I've read and tried a billion times, your comment hit deeper. My son scores in the 99% on tests but cannot sit down and do the simplest homework. He does have autism and adhd so when he freezes up on homework, despite More knowing it, I'm lost at how to help him get it done. He knows the work so why does he need to show it with 20 math problems after school that take forever to complete one? (whatever honors algebra stuff he's in, I was lucky to learn division lol) He has a high IQ and excels in all subjects and yet is being tutored, so far, in English just to get the work done. I'm so done with the emotional toll it takes on me and him at home. Nobody wants to go to work for 8 hours and come home and do the same for another 5 so why do we think our kids want to come home and do more classwork? I'm so appreciative of your comment!

JC Hi Barb, thank you for bringing this up! My son sounds a lot like you...and he really wants to get good grades and go to an Ivy League school. What could someone do to help an 8th grader in the moment of struggle, while making sure they don't get more More anxious from falling behind for the rest of the year?

Tb Hi Barb, I'm the parent of an 8th grader and I want to thank you for the comment you left here. You helped me look at the deeper issues and I really appreciate that. I'm going to approach the conversation with my son differently, thanks to you. Thank More you!

My 11 year old daughter, Alice, has always helped her 7 year old sister, Chole, with homework. But just recently Alice has been giving Chole the wrong answers. We have been trying to get her to give Chole the correct answers

but she always yells at us. She has a baby sister 2 months named Ray and ever since Ray was born she has been giving Chole wrong answers. I once overheard her and Kevin, my husband, talking about how she felt left out. She came and talked to me and said exactly what she had told Kevin. She also told me she has been getting bad grades and doesn't get her homework. Me and Alice talked and she said "All the cool New York girls get straight A's and ever since I started getting D's and F's they said I wasn't cool anymore." We started having her grandparents come over and she would yell, hit, scream, and talk back to them. She is a great student but she spends all of her time on her phone. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even at school she is on her phone. All I'm asking is that 1. How do I make her stop screaming, yelling, hitting, and back talking? 2. How do I make her feel cool and get A's again?and 3. How do I get her off her phone?

sounds like you have a number of concerns around your daughter’s behavior, and

it certainly can feel overwhelming. We would suggest https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/its-never-too-late-7-ways-to-start-parenting-more-effectively/ and focusing on just one or two of the most serious, to get

started. Behaviors like verbal or physical abuse would be of top priority,

while behaviors like https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-walk-away-from-a-fight-with-your-child-why-its-harder-than-you-think/ we would recommend ignoring, and not giving it any power or control.

Empowering Parents author Sara Bean offers some great insight into the reason

for poor child behavior in her article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/.It sounds like your daughter is struggling to

find more effective ways to solve the problems she is facing, and the result is

the acting out behavior. Keep in mind, you can’t make your daughter do anything, but what you can do is help her to

learn better tools to solve whatever problems may come her way. Best of luck to

you and your family as you continue to work on this.

Emma Reed Alice also swears at school and she swears to teachers. Please we have tried everything, even her sister at age 18. What have we done wrong?

Being away from loved ones when they are struggling can be

distressing. It may help to know that it’s not unusual to see changes in

behavior as kids move from the tweens into adolescence, as Janet Lehman

explains in the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/adolescent-behavior-changes-is-your-child-embarrassed-by-you/. Normally responsible

kids can start to push back against meeting expectations and disrespect towards

parents and other authority figures can become quite common. The behavior you

describe isn’t OK; it is normal though. I can hear how much you want to help

your daughter and granddaughter

work through these challenges. If your daughter is open to it, you could share

some Empowering Parents articles with her, such as the one above and this one, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-childs-behavior-is-so-bad-where-do-i-begin-how-to-coach-your-child-forward/.

We appreciate you writing in. Best of luck to you and your family moving

forward. Take care.

mphyvr Thanks for all these "strategies", they might work for some parents, but quite simplistic and just plain old common sense for more defiant kids... Thanks anyways and hope this article helps many.

Psych Fan I'm a mom of a sophomore he's also a swearing boy and will have quite a tantrum even with consequences of take away all he does is sleep. He doesn't like school says school is a waste of time and that grades won't matter in his adulthood . He says More it over n over about how schooling won't help him in the future as I go it will help you do good on a ACT and SAT he is like getting good scores on those are only good if your going to college. He also is like jobs won't look at my grades . I tell him homework teaches him responsibility once a job sees your amount of effort in school your going to have a heck of time getting hired. I even ask him how is he going to succeed to work real well at a job when he doesn't work hard at school he goes I don't need to work hard at school but I will need to work hard at a job.

dcastillo68 If it was only this simple, but, in reality it is not.  Middle school syndrome is the worst.  Kids don't want to be labeled as nerds so they do everything to try to fail.  I went through that with my first born, and now again with my youngest.  It is More very frustrating when I was the total opposite when I was growing up.  I cared about my grades an I took it for granted thinking they will feel the same way.  Now seeing how they are happy with just getting by is really frustrating to me because I am such an over achiever.  They didn't even get an ounce of this.  Very very frustrating.  And I wish I have never invited video games to this household.  That is all they want to do.  I keep using this an incentive to bring them back on track, but as soon as I give them their games back, they are back to their old habits.  Sorry, but I can't wait until they are finished with school and hopefully moving out of state to hopefully a college career.  I may change my mind later, but at the moment, this is just how I feel.  It is very hard too when you don't get any help.  I find today's teacher to be lazy and pushing on more responsibility to the parents.  Who has time to do a full day's of work, only to do additional work at home?  okay, enough venting.

@frustrated single dad Diane Lewis Hi there - I have a son adopted out of foster care.  He is 6 1/2 and has been in 5 homes.  He is totally the same!  They learn this behavior and are incredibly manipulative.  They are so insanely smart.  I worry about exactly the same thing.  They turn on and off the behavior depending on who they are with and what they want.

We did Parent Child Interactive Therapy (PCIT) at the Mailman Center (Jackson Hospital Miami).  It made a huge difference in the short-term.  They basically taught us to be full-time behavioral therapists with my son.  The effects wore off after a few months as my son adapted and found ways to circumvent the consequences techniques taught to us.  He is like the Borg!  I am going back to get more ideas on how to adapt and change and stay one step ahead of my son.  The gals there are really smart!

So, that being said - we have to be Jean Luc Picard and constantly change and adapt and outsmart them - just like changing the phasers on a laser gun!  It is bloody hard work.  And, harder the older they get -

eg.  He drops like a dead weight - throws his book bag and will not get in the car to go to school - response - next morning I headed it off by calling out to the kids "LAST ONE IN THE CAR IS A ROTTEN EGG!"  This has worked for 2 days now.  

Wont do homework 2 nights ago - response - "ooh I like doing word puzzles - Im going to do them and win" - this worked one night but not the next - he just then just left me to do his work - so I have told his teacher that there will be no school party for Alex next week unless he gets his homework finished - we will see if this works.....

It is totally exhausting and you have to be on your A game all the time.  Im telling you this but - I have to tell myself this too.  We have to stay really fit (like cross fit) and work out like a marine.  We have to be very disciplined with ourselves - a healthy body is a healthy mind - we cannot let up at all.  We have to stay calm at all times (again self discipline).  

Im always looking for concrete reactions to situations with my son.  Like I said - the entire day goes on like this with everything except what he wants to do.  Wont get dressed in the morning - put out his clothes in dining room where there are no distractions or toys - tell him that if he gets dressed and ready for school quickly - he can spend the left over time on the trampoline.  That worked this morning.

STAY STRONG MY BROTHER IN ARMS!!!  If you can get into a PCIT program - do it.

Love to you - R

My child comes home and says he doesn't have homework, does something easy to make it look like he's doing his homework, or says he did it during free time in class.  How do you combat this without going to the school everyday?  Neither my husband nor I can do More this because of work, and the we asked the teacher's if it was possible to send us the assignments via email or let us come pick them up once a week with no cooperation.  He is a very smart kid and gets "A's' on the work he does, but he is failing all of his core classes because he won't do homework.

@atmywitsend  , my child is the same way.  I'm at my wits end.  I feel like I'm a failure as a parent because I thought I taught my smart kid to succeed - and instead she's lying to me.

Psych Fan NinaMays I'm with the same feelings as my son can be above a C student but he choose to go oh I rather just get F's on this work than to actually get at least a B or A on these many assignments.. I ask him why he chooses F's More in many assignments when he could get a grade to bring his grades up and me telling me he's not being his full potential as by making him not do his work how can I truly believe he's going to be successful and he's like I have big brains . Then I'm like why not show me by doing your school work he goes I don't need do that and I show you of my big brains by telling you school isn't important. Telling me I am brainwashed. He is a sophomore in high school.

FRUSTRATED PARENT NinaMays This is my reality too - "relationship" with teachers is difficult when they won't co-operate with homework expectations, or follow up email - the schools complain that kids are on the internet - yet its them providing wifi passwords - so kids are playing in class - lying about More homework - and since I'm not in the class, I have no idea until report cards surface.

Responses to questions posted on EmpoweringParents.com are not intended to replace qualified medical or mental health assessments. We cannot diagnose disorders or offer recommendations on which treatment plan is best for your family. Please seek the support of local resources as needed. If you need immediate assistance, or if you and your family are in crisis, please contact a qualified mental health provider in your area, or contact your statewide crisis hotline.

We value your opinions and encourage you to add your comments to this discussion. We ask that you refrain from discussing topics of a political or religious nature. Unfortunately, it's not possible for us to respond to every question posted on our website.

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How to Get Homework Done when You Don't Want To

Last Updated: March 2, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Ashley Pritchard, MA and by wikiHow staff writer, Hannah Madden . Ashley Pritchard is an Academic and School Counselor at Delaware Valley Regional High School in Frenchtown, New Jersey. Ashley has over 3 years of high school, college, and career counseling experience. She has an MA in School Counseling with a specialization in Mental Health from Caldwell University and is certified as an Independent Education Consultant through the University of California, Irvine. There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 246,548 times.

Homework can be a drag, but it's got to be done to keep your grades up and stay on track during school. Going somewhere quiet, making a plan, and giving yourself breaks can all help you stay focused and on task to get your work done quickly. Try to keep your assignments organized and give yourself credit for completing hard or boring work, even if you didn’t want to.

Getting Motivated

Step 1 Pick an easy assignment to start with.

  • Keep a list of your assignments and check them off as you finish them. This can give you a sense of accomplishment that can motivate you to keep going.

Step 2 Work on your homework with your friends to keep each other motivated.

  • Make it the rule that you work for a certain amount of time, or until a certain amount of work has been accomplished. Afterward, you can hang out. Stick to this schedule.
  • Try this out and see if it works. If you're too distracted by having friends around, make a date to hang out after homework instead.

Step 3 Make completing assignments a competition with yourself.

  • Make sure you keep the competition to yourself. Competing with your friends isn’t fun, especially over homework assignments and grades.

Step 4 Understand why you’re doing homework so it doesn’t feel pointless.

  • Learning something that will probably help with future assignments, even if you don't know what they are yet.
  • Proving to your teacher that you understand the homework so that they don’t keep assigning it over and over.
  • Improving your GPA.
  • Getting a good grade.

Step 5 Reward yourself when you finish an assignment.

  • Try not to reward yourself with food, as that can lead to snacking when you aren’t really hungry.

Staying Focused

Step 1 Break your work up into 45-minute chunks.

  • For instance, tell yourself that if you finish your first assignment in 20 minutes, you can go on your phone for 5 minutes.

Step 2 Take 15-minute breaks.

  • Make sure you stand up and do something when it's your break, or you won't get your wiggles out.
  • Set a timer on your phone or use a kitchen timer to let yourself know when it's time to switch tasks.

Step 3 Incorporate your own interests into your assignments.

  • If you don't have control over the subject, try to find connections between the topic and something you care about. Find aspects of the subject that interest you.
  • For instance, if you have to study History but you care the most about fashion, investigate the styles of the times and places you are studying. Learn how political and economical developments changed the way people dressed.

Step 4 Listen to soothing music that isn’t distracting.

  • You can find playlists on Spotify and YouTube that are made for studying and doing homework.

Step 5 Turn off any entertainment when it’s time to focus on the hard stuff.

  • When you're struggling to focus, sign out of your email and all social media so you don't check them as a reflex.

Creating Good Study Habits

Step 1 Set up a dedicated workspace.

  • If you have many textbooks and worksheets, stack them and put them to the side.
  • Get things like pencils, erasers, calculators, rulers, and paper.

Step 2 Keep a homework planner.

  • Having a planner will make it less tempting to procrastinate, as long as you have broken up your studying into manageable chunks.
  • Your planner can be paper, or you can get one on your phone. Just make sure it has space for task lists as well as events.
  • Once you have completed a task, cross it off or put a check next to it. Seeing that you're getting your work done will make you feel better, which in turn will motivate you to keep up the good work.
  • Don't put more than you can do in one day on a list! Split up your week's work so that every day has a manageable amount.

Step 3 Stick to a weekly homework routine.

  • If you have a job or extracurricular activities that change your daily schedule, determine a weekly schedule that you stick to as much as possible.

Step 4 Get help with your homework if you’re struggling.

  • Sometimes just explaining what you have to do will help you understand it better.
  • Talking to another person is a great way to brainstorm ideas. They may ask you questions or provide comments that can help you organize your ideas.
  • Other times, the person you are talking to will notice something about the prompt that you overlooked.

Supercharge Your Studying with this Expert Series

1 - Study For Exams

Expert Q&A

Alexander Peterman, MA

Reader Videos

Share a quick video tip and help bring articles to life with your friendly advice. Your insights could make a real difference and help millions of people!

  • Try asking a family member to help you remember when to start your assignments so you don’t forget. Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 2
  • Getting motivated can be tough. Just try your best, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 2
  • If you’re really struggling with a topic, consider going to a tutor for extra help. Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 2

Tips from our Readers

  • Set up a dedicated study area at home with your needed supplies, to establish a consistent homework routine. Having everything in one prepared place helps minimize distractions.
  • Use a planner to schedule out all your assignments. Break them into small, manageable pieces so it's less overwhelming. Checking tasks off as you finish motivates you along.
  • If completely stuck on an assignment, reach out and talk it through with someone. Verbalizing it can provide new insights to move forward.
  • Take short activity breaks every 45 minutes. Get up, stretch, grab some water. It refreshes your mental focus so you stay engaged.
  • Incorporate a fun personal interest into an assignment when possible. Writing about something you care about keeps you absorbed.
  • When you really need to concentrate, eliminate enticing distractions like your phone. Logging out keeps you on track.

how to not be lazy to do homework

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Concentrate on Your Homework

  • ↑ https://hwpi.harvard.edu/files/comm/files/smarttalk_staff_guide.pdf
  • ↑ http://www.wcsu.edu/housing/wp-content/uploads/sites/55/2018/05/Handout-V6N6.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/worry-wise/201410/how-prevent-homework-procrastination
  • ↑ Ashley Pritchard, MA. Academic & School Counselor. Expert Interview. 4 November 2019.
  • ↑ https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/homework.html
  • ↑ http://kidshealth.org/en/kids/organize-focus.html?WT.ac=p-ra#
  • ↑ https://www.stonybrookmedicine.edu/sites/default/files/homework_tips.pdf
  • ↑ https://childmind.org/article/strategies-to-make-homework-go-more-smoothly/
  • ↑ http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/homework.html#

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The Mind-Boggling Simplicity of Learning to Say ‘No’

Keeping a notebook of every opportunity she declined helped the writer Leslie Jamison realize what matters most.

An illustration of hands writing on blue paper that says “No Thanks.” The note is on top of a yellow envelope, and there are more note sheets next to it.

By Leslie Jamison

When I was 25, I took a job at a bakery in a small college town in the Midwest. I worked front and back of house, pulling espresso shots at the bar and running into the kitchen to grab my (often burned) sugar cookies from the oven.

My boss and I had agreed on a weekly schedule — I wanted desperately to be a writer and was trying to carve out time to work on my novel — but it seemed like she was always asking me to take on another shift, or stay late, or come in early, and I found it difficult to refuse. If I said no, I worried that I would be leaving her in a jam, or that she might decide I wasn’t worth keeping on the staff at all. (My skills in the kitchen hardly justified my presence.)

One afternoon I was venting about it to my stepfather, expecting his sympathy, and he just shook his head, vaguely amused. Then he offered one of the best pieces of wisdom I’ve ever received: “She has the right to ask the question, and you have the right to say no.”

This was mind-boggling in both its simplicity and its radical reframing. The requests that I’d experienced as acts of violation were really nothing of the sort; it was not only my right but also my responsibility to draw my own boundaries, rather than expect another person to draw them for me.

In my early 20s, I’d struggled to cancel a gym membership — wondering whether the young “membership manager” was going to be yelled at by her boss if she didn’t meet her quota, because of me . And I’d always struggled to say no to a drink (or a joint, or a line), which wasn’t just about wanting to get drunk or stay that way (though yes, sure, of course) — it also had to do with imagining the twinge of embarrassment or rejection the other person might feel if I declined.

What was so hard about saying no? Often it was the fear of disappointing someone, not being able or willing to meet some need. But it was also often the fear of permanently losing something — a chance, an opportunity, a connection. Every offer was a message that would self-destruct 10 seconds after I refused it, never to be seen again.

Almost every woman I knew had expressed, at some point, difficulty saying no. I felt a sense of identification at once rabid and tender, but I was also a little suspicious of all of us: Had this become a kind of collective humble brag? Were we all sending signals about how much the world wanted from us, how generous and giving we all were? It almost felt unseemly — selfish, even — to not struggle with saying no.

But it wasn’t only generosity that drove me. The inability to say no was tangled with other things: a mercantilist desire to shore up affection, gratitude and opportunities, and a craven, self-centered fear that I would be annihilated by someone else’s hurt or disapproval.

Shortly before I published my first collection of essays in 2014 , when one of my writing instructors recommended me for a teaching position, I was so flattered that I didn’t even think about whether I wanted it. And when I got it, I was terrified to turn it down, afraid that not only would “they” be angry with me, but also that the universe would punish me for my lack of appreciation.

My teacher, who had helped me get the opportunity in the first place, was also the one who helped me understand why it was OK to refuse it: Other opportunities would come in its wake.

When I finally turned down the teaching position, it felt like a knot had loosened inside of me. But it didn’t make it any easier the next time. As my career progressed, I started receiving more opportunities — more invitations to come speak, come teach, come read, come write a piece — and it still felt as if it were a sign of ingratitude not to take all of them.

Eventually, I ended up utterly exhausted. I collapsed in the middle of a movie theater and took an ambulance to the emergency room. It turned out that I had a burst ovarian cyst and a long-term infection that hadn’t been diagnosed. It felt like my body telling me: Stop .

After coming home from the hospital, in the quiet of my apartment, I decided to make something I called the “Notebook of Noes.” On every page, I wrote down an opportunity I had decided to decline: a speaking gig, a magazine commission, an invitation from a friend. Then I drew a line across the page. Underneath, I wrote what saying no had made room for: more time with my partner. More time at home. More time to write. More time to call my mother and ask about her day, and tell her about mine.

Because I was a writer, it helped me to list my own refusals in a notebook. It was as if, in their accumulation, they could create a meaningful text: the story of learning to live a different way.

As I gathered more of these noes, I learned that, even after I’d uttered the word, the world continued just as it always had. The people I’d been anxious about disappointing? They were OK. The fear of losing something for good? It often came back, or something else did.

More than anything, however, the Notebook of Noes helped me see absence as a form of presence — instead of lamenting the ghost limb of what I wasn’t doing, I could acknowledge that every refusal was making it more possible to do something else.

In the past 10 years, I’ve practiced saying no in every arena of my life: saying no to men I didn’t want to go on second dates with. Gently interrupting students who were talking too much in class. Turning down speaking gigs because I didn’t want to be away from home.

In each case, I remind myself what the “no” is carving space for: a better date, for myself and for the man who asked. More room for other students to participate in the class conversation. More time with my daughter. Always, as they say in recovery, a question of progress not perfection.

The flip side of saying no is saying yes more fully, less grudgingly — because I’m not living life like a pat of butter spread too thinly across toast.

I still think about my stepfather’s advice; although he is no longer alive, it makes me feel close to him. And, recently, my daughter asked me to take her to an indoor water park that we love, in a massive mall in New Jersey. Even though I felt overwhelmed by my to-do list, I said yes: to water slides and French fries and the swells of a wave pool under a huge glass roof. The space we shared was built of noes; it was worth every one of them.

Leslie Jamison is the author of five books, most recently the memoir “ Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story .”


  1. How Can I Stop Feeling Lazy to Study

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  2. How To Stop Being Lazy At Home: 5 Ideas to Keep You On Track

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  3. 10 Tips On How NOT To Be Lazy

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  4. How to avoid Laziness while studying

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  5. How to Stop Being Lazy and Unproductive

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  6. Parents Need To Be Wise, Here Are 5 Hidden Reasons For Children Who Are

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  1. Why aren't you doing your homework?

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  5. Never Be Lazy To Do Your Own Work?? #animationshorts #shortfilms #movie #story #shorts #movieclips

  6. Deciding what to doodle on my homework~|| lazy and trash post ||


  1. How to Overcome Laziness: Tips to Get Motivated

    Do your best to talk yourself up because it'll help you feel a lot more motivated. [2] Replace thoughts like, "I'm so lazy," with, "I needed this rest. Now, I can tackle a new task.". Tell yourself things like, "I can do this," "Progress adds up over time, so I'm doing great," and "I'm proud of how far I've come.". 3.

  2. 16 Ways to Concentrate on Your Homework

    Get up and walk or stretch occasionally, or even do jumping jacks or run in place for a couple of minutes. Standing up while you work is also a great way to boost your focus. [1] Try sitting on an exercise ball or wobbly chair when you're doing your homework. The movement may help you stay focused.

  3. How to Study Without Getting Bored: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

    That way, you will start with something you like and have your favorite subject to look forward to while you are studying the subject you hate. 5. Pick your most active time of day. Studying during the time of day where you are most awake and active can help you study for longer periods of time without getting bored.

  4. How to Stop Being Lazy and Get More Productive

    Prioritize Sleep. If you tend to feel lazy, you might think you're getting too much sleep or napping too much. Create and stick to a consistent sleep care routine. It can help you stick to your daytime schedule and, in turn, help you feel more balanced and energized to take on tasks and feel more productive.

  5. How to Overcome Feeling Lazy

    Even most lazy people care what others think of them. If you show even moderate responsibility, you'll get more respect and friendship from responsible people, and that, in turn, will motivate ...

  6. 30 Tips to Stop Procrastinating and Find Motivation to Do Homework

    Put your phone at least 10 feet away from you. Turn off the Internet access on your computer. Use an app like Freedom to restrict your Internet usage. Put any other distractions (like food, magazines and books unrelated to your homework) at the other end of the room. Unplug the TV.

  7. How to Do Homework: 15 Expert Tips and Tricks

    You finish one episode, then decide to watch another even though you've got SAT studying to do. It's just more fun to watch people make scones. D. Start the episode, but only catch bits and pieces of it because you're reading Twitter, cleaning out your backpack, and eating a snack at the same time. 5.

  8. How To Stop Being Lazy: 24 Tips That Actually Work!

    It's common to use a timer with this technique, so you don't distract yourself with keeping time all day. Set the timer for 25 minutes, work until the timer, take a few minutes, restart the timer, and repeat. 7. Don't allow yourself to make excuses. Excuses will derail your progress if you let them.

  9. How to Focus on Homework: 12 Hacks for Busy Students

    Decide on fixed hours for studying and tell your friends and family members that you won't be available during that time of the day. If others respect your study time, you'll be more inclined to respect it as well. 6. Listen to study music. There are many tracks out there designed to help your mind focus.

  10. The Psychology of Laziness

    Source: Pixabay. A person is being lazy if he is able to carry out some activity that he ought to carry out, but is disinclined to do so because of the effort involved. Instead, he carries out the ...

  11. Tips for Fighting Homework Fatigue in 4 Minutes

    Minutes 1 and 2: Stand up. Walk away from your computer. Shake out your arms and legs. Roll your shoulders backwards then forwards. Kick out your feet. Roll your wrists. Walk up and down stairs if you have them. I even encourage you to do a few jumping jacks. Whatever you do, just keep moving.

  12. 3 Ways to Motivate Teenagers to Do Their Homework

    Doing homework at the kitchen table or a desk in the office or living room will provide them with enough space to complete their work. 2. Set a consistent homework time. Children thrive when they have a routine. Pick a time each day that your teenager does homework.

  13. 3 Ways to Not Be Lazy

    No TV, no newspaper, no social websites, no leisure Internet surfing, no watching videos on the Internet. You might want to create your own rule for this tip. 4. Make it a habit to do anything simple as soon as you see it. For example, if you see a stack of papers need to be dumped, dump into the bin it straight away.

  14. Homework Struggles May Not Be a Behavior Problem

    This list is hardly comprehensive. ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, panic disorder, depression, dysregulation, and a range of other neurodevelopmental and ...

  15. How to Stop Being Lazy in College (5 Steps)

    Step 3. Fill in time to be productive. You're doing great! Keep following along and I promise you'll stop being lazy in college. The next step is to fill in time to be productive. This is the time you'll allocate to finish homework, do some studying, chores, run errands, work on your side project, and so on.

  16. 3 steps for overcoming student laziness

    Here are three steps students can take to (actually) overcome laziness. 1. Unleash the Beast! Unleash your hidden energy by getting excited about the future possibilities. The first step to overcoming laziness is to GET OUT of your rut. Picture your goals and write them down.

  17. How To Overcome Laziness While Studying: 15 Effective Tips

    70% Properties Have Sold Out | Book Now & Get Cashback Click Here. You must check out these 15 Effective Tips On How To Overcome Laziness While Studying if you are feeling like giving up on studying now.

  18. My Child Refuses To Do Homework

    Don't get sucked into arguments with your child about homework. Make it very clear that if they don't do their homework, then the next part of their night does not begin. Keep discussions simple. Say to your child: "Right now is homework time. The sooner you get it done, the sooner you can have free time.".

  19. [Need Advice] I don't want to do my homework. : r/getdisciplined

    if you're not used to doing homework, your brain is used to being lazy. that feeling of "homework never stops" is a bad minset to have. you should tune back into the feeling of "hey i want to turn my homework in on time" as much as possible. and when you fail, you try again. and again. and again. you try and you try until you succeed.

  20. Should We Get Rid of Homework?

    As a parent, I would rather my daughter not get stuck doing the sort of pointless homework I would occasionally assign, but I also think there's a lot of value in saying, "Hey, a lot of work ...

  21. 3 Ways to Get Homework Done when You Don't Want To

    2. Take 15-minute breaks. Every 45 minutes, take a break and walk away from your study area. [7] Breaks are the time to get your reward, to use the bathroom or get a glass of water, and to move a little. Taking a break can give your brain a short rest from your work so you come back feeling refreshed and energized.

  22. How a Notebook Taught Me to Embrace Saying No

    After coming home from the hospital, in the quiet of my apartment, I decided to make something I called the "Notebook of Noes." On every page, I wrote down an opportunity I had decided to ...


    Homework teaches students to work independently and develop self-discipline. Homework encourages students to take initiative and responsibility for completing a task. Homework allows parents to ...

  24. Laura Coppelman on Instagram: "When you're in the thick of parenting

    24 likes, 2 comments - laura_coppelman_photography on February 12, 2024: "When you're in the thick of parenting, it can be challenging to breathe in, breathe out and ...