Book Review: Not Now, Maybe Later

Although procrastination is not always a bad thing, it can lead to stress and be especially incapacitating for children. It can compromise their dreams and self-esteem and result in underachievement. It can be a game changer as they live within their family, move from one grade level to another, and as they mature and develop a sense of self.”     ~ from the introduction.

Nothing says procrastination like putting off a review of a book about procrastination. Maybe I’m onto something here; or not. A pdf of the new book, Not Now, Maybe Later, by Joanne Foster has been in an open tab in my browser for several weeks now. I had tons of excuses … looking for a paid gig, blog posts, Twitter chats, laundry (okay, maybe not laundry) … but I finally sat down and read it.

Truth be told, I should have done this weeks ago. It is a book that every parent should read. Too often parents buy books only to leave them on the shelf because – who has time to read when you have kids? I’m here to tell you that you need to take the time to read this one; it’s just that important.

Not Now, Maybe Later is about teaching our children executive functioning; getting things done, completing tasks they don’t think are important, meeting deadlines, finding fulfillment in everyday life. Who wouldn’t want that for their kids? Who doesn’t want that for themselves?

In my opinion, Chapter 1 is priceless. Contemplation of why we procrastinate and strategies to deal with it will prove invaluable to any parent who is frustrated by their child’s failure to complete anything. Think of a world of where you don’t hear the words, “in a minute” or “why do I have to?”

Joanne Foster, Ed.D.

I really appreciated advice like this from Dr. Foster:
Parents should understand that while a child’s procrastination isn’t something that should be praised, it does not always merit scolding or reproach. Sometimes people—young, old, and in-between—just need help getting past whatever is causing the procrastination in the first place, along with some good old-fashioned encouragement and support.
Of course, procrastination can become a serious problem, but parents need to decide what approach they will take with their gifted child. An authoritarian approach never worked with my children; not to say I didn’t try a few times. Dr. Foster suggests using common sense in deciding which way is most effective in motivating and guiding a child to task completion.

Take time to find out the cause for the procrastination. It can be a matter of ability, perceived dangers, lack of an endpoint, or simply bad timing. Understanding why the procrastination is taking place can go a long way in figuring out what to do about it. A child may simply be “taking his time weighing options, planning, reflecting, or working on the task elsewhere with others.”

Another reason a gifted child may procrastinate is the fear of failure and their inability to cope with making mistakes; they see it as a way of avoiding an undesirable outcome. By helping a child work through these feelings, they will begin to develop resilience; a valuable skill that will help them throughout life. Many strategies are offered to cope with failure including talking to your child about the benefits of perseverance, planning ahead, learning about trial-and-error, and knowing that it’s okay to ask for help.

Not Now, Maybe Later is an invaluable resource that will provide you with the knowledge and tools to help your child become a self-reliant, independent adult. Isn’t that what we all want for our kids?  

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of the manuscript for review.