Are you a student struggling to get all your homework done on time? Check out these 10 strategies below!
1. Set clear expectations
This may look like a to-do list for older students or like a “first-then” deal or an activity schedule for the younger ones (Mattson & Pinkelman, 2019).
2. Create a workspace
This will help associating an area with work. From a practical point of view, you will have all your stuff in one place, and you won’t be looking around for pens or books.
3. Manage distractions
Either by putting electronic devices or pets away, manage distractions to make sure no one will interrupt your flow.
4. Body Doubling
To try this relatively new technique, you just have to have another person around you, when need to start of stay focused on a task (“ADHD Body Doubling: What It Is and How It Works”, 2022). The person does not have to actively assist you or prompt you. The good news is, you can even do this online by having someone on a video call!
5. Provide choices
If you are a parent having homework battles, try giving choices: asking what part of the homework will be done first is enough to give to your child a sense of control and decrease their aversion for the task.
6. High probability requests to create behaviour momentum
Are you struggling to make the first step and start working on assignments? You can make the first step easier: if you are a student, try starting from the easiest or most enjoyable parts of your homework. If you are a parent trying to convince a child, you may want to consider using “pre-homework tasks” (Bross et al., 2018). These tasks can be little instructions that your child usually responds to, without much fuss. This can create a momentum, helping progression to the next steps and decreasing the time it takes to start engaging with homework (Wehby & Hollahan, 2000).
7. Break it down and take breaks
Dividing work in smaller chunks with breaks in between can help with both initiating and staying focused during work time, as the task seems more doable.
8. Checking if you are on-task
A self-management strategy as simple as checking whether you are on task or not every 10 minutes has been shown to increase task engagement (Axelrod, Zhe, Haugen & Klein, 2009).
9. Increase motivation
Working towards a goal can make any task more bearable. For children, is important to vary rewards to keep them interested (you can always keep the reward secret and use the “surprise factor”).
10. Follow what works
Not everyone is the same. Don’t be afraid to try different techniques and see what works best for you. Remember to stay flexible, as not all days are the same.
If you or someone in your family is struggling with homework completion and this is impacting your everyday life, it may be a good idea to seek professional help. You can book an appointment here.
Elena Marinopoulou is a Behaviour Analyst with Willingness Team. She works with children and adults and has a strong interest in parent training, sleep and feeding issues, as well as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
Axelrod, M., Zhe, E., Haugen, K., & Klein, J. (2009). Self-Management of On-Task Homework Behavior: A Promising Strategy for Adolescents With Attention and Behavior Problems. School Psychology Review, 38(3), 325-333. doi: 10.1080/02796015.2009.12087817
Wehby, J., & Hollahan, M. (2000). EFFECTS OF HIGH-PROBABILITY REQUESTS ON THE LATENCY TO INITIATE ACADEMIC TASKS. Journal Of Applied Behavior Analysis, 33(2), 259-262. doi: 10.1901/jaba.2000.33-259
Bross, L., Common, E., Oakes, W., Lane, K., Menzies, H., & Ennis, R. (2018). High-Probability Request Sequence: An Effective, Efficient Low-Intensity Strategy to Support Student Success. Beyond Behavior, 27(3), 140-145. doi: 10.1177/1074295618798615
ADHD Body Doubling: What It Is and How It Works. (2022). Retrieved 31 July 2022, from https://psychcentral.com/adhd/adhd-body-doubling#body-doubling-defined
Mattson, S., & Pinkelman, S. (2019). Improving On-Task Behavior in Middle School Students With Disabilities Using Activity Schedules. Behavior Analysis In Practice, 13(1), 104-113. doi: 10.1007/s40617-019-00373-2