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Bust Your BUTS!

Tips For Teens Who Procrastinate

BY Dr. Joanne Foster

Get rid of procrastination tendencies! In Bust Your BUTS: Tips for Teens Who Procrastinate, Dr. Joanne Foster discusses 28 hurdles that kids often confront when tackling tasks and activities. In a carefully organized and reader-friendly fashion, she provides compelling examples, and she raises lots of interesting points for kids to consider. Most importantly, she reveals relatable, sensible, and doable strategies that will lead to success! Winner of a Silver Benjamin Franklin Award, Bust Your BUTS is the essential guide for turning “I can’t” into “I will!’”

Dynamic Duo Discount: Purchase Bust Your BUTS and Not Now, Maybe Later and receive $10 off. Click here.

Age range 12 years and over
(For parents and families, too!)

Bust Your BUTS - Tips For Teens Who Procrastinate |  by Dr. Joanne Foster, Author, Advocate for Gifted Learning

Bust Your BUTS: Tips for Teens Who Procrastinate

By Dr. Joanne Foster

Published by: Gifted Unlimited

Bust Your BUTS is primarily for kids 12 and up—although younger readers and their families will also benefit from reading this book because it’s filled with tips to help understand, prevent, manage, and eliminate procrastination. There are 28 BUTS (reasons why people procrastinate), including having too much to do, being distracted, laziness, not wanting to take risks, being disorganized, confusion, lacking confidence, and more.

Kids will find out how to bust their BUTS, including learning how to use time wisely, confront challenges, get motivated, and become more successful. Bust Your BUTS is an informative, reader-friendly, and practical resource. This is the book that procrastinators have been waiting for!

Heads-up parents and teachers—in Bust Your BUTS you will discover valuable ideas for encouraging and supporting the kids in your lives! Yes, they have to learn about accountability and responsibility, but they may need some help along the way. This book is also a handy reference guide for adults who seek to offer kids reassurance and guidance, and who want strategies for addressing procrastination—perhaps even their own. (And, be sure to check out Dr. Foster’s book Not Now, Maybe Later: Helping Children Overcome Procrastination for additional insights and tips! Indeed, Not Now, Maybe Later and Bust Your BUTS are a Dynamic Duo!)

Benjamin-Franklin-Award | Dr. Joanne Foster, Author, Advocate for Gifted LearningBust Your BUTS was acclaimed the winner of the 2018 Independent Book Publishers Association’s Silver Benjamin Franklin Award™ in the category of Teen: Nonfiction (13-18 years). The Benjamin Franklin Awards are important within and beyond the publishing industry. There are over 50 categories, and award recipients exemplify excellence in such areas as professional standards, top-notch content, and creative design. To find out more about the IBPA’s impressive 30+ year history, and to see complete lists of winners, please visit their website here.
Also available as an eBook.

Reviews for Bust Your BUTS!


Joanne Foster Ed.D. is an author with a heart for helping procrastinators. She fathoms many reasons that teens give for “putting things off”. She unpacks the varying issues which could lie behind this behaviour. Her book is easy to read. Her explanations are clear. Her examples are taken from the everyday teenage world. Her book is aptly peppered with quotes which resonate with her readers.

I recommend Bust Your BUTS as a well-crafted resource tool for teens (and others) who want to increase their understanding of procrastination and increase their productivity.

Gloria van Donge
Author of The Gifted Kids Book Series

As I started to write the review for this wonderful book, I had to first clean up my family room. I can’t work in a messy environment. Then I again skimmed through all my notes and reread many passages. Oh! I forgot that I was out of milk, so I ran to the store.

You see, it isn’t only teens who procrastinate! We all do it. I have the advantage of KNOWING that I procrastinate just before I write, and I place that knowledge in the process. Bust Your Buts is a perfect book for teens. The first stanza of Dr. Foster’s poem also says:

This book is for kids
To keep on their shelves
Adults who read it
Just might see themselves!

The title, Bust Your BUTS is very clever because the book is a collection of “BUTS, also known as avoidance tendencies.” We all say “but” as excuses for what we can’t or don’t want to do.

Introduction: This explains how the book is helpful. It is very casual to appeal to teens. Dr. Foster is very personal and friendly and inviting.

Chapter 1: About Procrastination “Procrastination involves putting things off.”

Chapter one talks about how complex procrastination is. Sometimes procrastination is due to conflicts, and so Dr. Foster has steps for avoiding conflict: Calm down, Communicate, Cooperate, Compromise, and Consider. The five C’s!

Chapter 2: Personal Reasons

The lists for each of the following categories are so specific, so exact, and so applicable to all, that copies of this book should be in every classroom—perhaps in every teen’s desk!!

  • TIPS for when you procrastinate because you have too much to do.
  • TIPS for when you procrastinate because you just don’t care
  • TIPS for when you procrastinate because you are bored
  • TIPS for when you procrastinate due to a lack of self-confidence
  • TIPS for when you procrastinate because you are fearful
  • TIPS for when you procrastinate because you fear success
  • TIPS for when you procrastinate because your feelings interfere
  • TIPS for when you procrastinate because of perfectionism
  • TIPs for when you procrastinate because you aren’t feeling well
  • TIPS for when you procrastinate because you’re confused
  • TIPS for when you procrastinate because you’re lazyTIPS for when you procrastinate because you want the BIG picture

Continuing to list TIPS, Chapter 3 addresses Skill-Related Reasons for Procrastination, Chapter 4 addresses External Reasons for Procrastination, and Chapter 5 is called But What If…? and talks about what to do if all else fails.

All chapters will appeal to our teens, especially those who like to know “why,” but they will also fascinate teachers and other adults. Dr. Foster is very knowledgeable and has a high-powered reputation, yet she can get right down to the essence of meaning and appeals to the reader with her sense of humor and an ability to get to the heart of the matter.


Run to buy Bust Your Buts by Dr. Joanne Foster. It would make terrific gifts for teens, their parents, their teachers…and anyone who wants TIPS for procrastination!

Elaine Wiener
Writer for the California Association for the Gifted Newsletter, CAG Communicator

Great resource for kids and adults!

Bust Your BUTS is an easy to read book with practical ideas on how to help people of all ages to become motivated and get things done. Don’t procrastinate. Buy it now!

Amazon Reviewer

An outstanding book that provides teens with practical strategies that they can use to overcome procrastination and change their lives! Dr. Foster has provided an extensive number of relatable examples to help teens move forward and accomplish their goals. A thoroughly enjoyable read, and a perfect accompaniment to the well-received parent/teacher book “Not Now, Maybe Later”

Susanne Alter, M.Ed.
Special Education Consultant

Bust Your BUTS is a rich resource that teaches teens how to get themselves unstuck when they procrastinate. Dr. Foster makes sense of the reasons why we procrastinate and compassionately creates awareness around these unspoken obstacles to productivity. She avoids blame and opens the door for lasting change by providing valuable insights and offering simple tips to move her readers forward. Filled with encouragement and practical steps, Bust Your BUTS empowers teens to find what drives them to where they want to go in life.

Sherlyn Pang Luedtke
Speaker, Trainer, and Author – #1 Best Seller, The Mommy Advantage

Joanne Foster has written yet another book that will help teachers, parents, and very interested individuals deal with one of those problems that befuddle, baffle and bewilder us all- procrastination. And she is one of those few authors who take a multi-modal approach to the problem, because let’s face it- there ARE sometimes good personal reasons for procrastinating, good external reasons for putting things off, and robust reasons for delaying those insipid things that need to be done! If you want to be more productive, get things done – and get your kids and students to ” get er done” – then pick up a copy of this book – without delay.

Michael F. Shaughnessy
Professor at Eastern New Mexico University; Editor, Gifted Education International

All teens will enjoy this quick, light, practical guide to overcoming procrastination. Whether they delay what needs to be done only on occasion or make a regular habit of it, they will find that Joanne Foster has come to the rescue with great tips to
inspire, motivate and most important, break free of procrastination. Easy to read, understand and apply, the strategies in Bust Your Buts will be appreciated for a lifetime.

Sarah Chana Radcliffe, M.Ed.C.Psych.
Author of “The Fear Fix”

Sensible solutions for all different types of procrastinators. This book is full of the right skills and resources to address procrastination. A must-have for teens—and educators and parents. It is such a usable guide that anyone could use it effectively.

Sylvia Kwan

Joanne Foster has created a comprehensive list of the reasons for procrastinating, and practical steps for how to address each one. She has struck just the right tone for teens—not talking down, but treating them like intelligent and capable beings, and brooking no nonsense in tackling the problem. The book is well organized for a start-to- finish read or a quick reference for a particular issue, and comes with a helpful bibliography and a thorough list of endnotes. Finally, she has remained optimistic throughout and sends a clear message that “Yes, you can overcome this!”

Colleen Willard-Holt, Ph.D.
Dean of the Faculty of Education, Wilfrid-Laurier University, Waterloo

Brilliant! Surgically presented and packed with concrete information. Dr. Joanne Foster finally gives procrastination the breadth of respect and appreciation it direly demands. Essential text for teenagers, and for every Emotional Literacy educator—teachers, therapists, life coaches & parents!

Marlaine Cover
Social Entrepreneur, and Founder of Parenting 2.0

Bust your BUTS is just the book we’ve been waiting for!

Full of tips and pointers, this book is immediately useful to teens who ruminate over the myriad reasons to avoid starting that project. Joanne Foster has pinpointed many of the common reasons why teens procrastinate. With compassionate understanding, the author acknowledges the difficulties of the ‘BUTS’ and then expertly addresses these concerns with tips that are ‘doable’ in a step-by-step manner. Interspersed with fitting quotes, Bust your BUTS is written in a language and practical format that will be easily implemented by teens (and their parents)!

Helpful strategies highlight the importance of building skills such as time management and organization. In addition, this book considers factors such as motivation, and harnessing one’s personal strengths, alongside beneficial sources of information for additional supports. This is a book I would highly recommend to students, parents and educators.

Barbara Williams
Special Education Consultant, and Program Lead for Learning Disabilities, Gifted, and Enrichment

Finally! Some practical advice to help teens who are stymied by procrastination. Dr. Foster explains why they procrastinate, and what they can do about it. Bust Your BUTS is a very practical guide to help teens achieve success in high school and beyond by “working smarter not faster.” The structure of the book is excellent. It’s easy to read, and being able to flip around the book BY DESIGN without a chronological approach, is user friendly. There’s a wide variety of inspirational quotes, and plenty of useful advice to help students take responsibility. Every teen should read this book!

James V. McManamy
High school teacher

For anyone who procrastinates, you will find yourself among the pages of this informative book. Bust Your BUTS will offer you strategies and resources to help you understand and cope when procrastination gets in your way.

Mona Diamond, M.A., Reg.
CASLPO, Speech – Language Pathologist

USE THIS BOOK! We all know the “buts” because we fall back on them all the time. What this book provides are the “tips.” They are realistic, practical, and easy to follow. Don’t procrastinate. Read this book today.

Judy Winberg
Educational Consultant

Bust Your BUTS offers the reader a comprehensive review of the many factors that contribute to procrastination in teens, and provides detailed strategies to manage barriers that interfere with task completion. The book is organized to allow the reader to delve into a detailed analysis of procrastination or to skip content and go directly to specific tips. Although written for teens, parents and educators will benefit from the information and tools offered in this book.

Ellen Yack
Registered Occupational Therapist

This should be mandatory reading for every teen at the beginning of high school. In fact, if this guide were to be expanded into an entire course, we would see more of an increase in successful people believing in themselves, and a decrease in the teen-anxiety we hear so much about.

This book literally puts the harness in kids’ hands, and teaches them to ride! It is more about discovering and knowing oneself rather than “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” (although I love the “Don’ts” guide at the end). It’s about nurturing growth, and encouraging thinking outside of perceived limitations.

I just know Bust Your BUTS is going to be transformational for adults AND teens. The easy-to-absorb format is thoughtfully and concisely presented, making it an effective and useful resource to which people can refer easily when needed. It is unique and effective in presenting meaningful strategies for taking control of actions, attitudes, and energy well spent. It develops responsibility, builds self-esteem, and teaches kids how to construct perspectives for their own success. The inspiring quotes reinforce what the author is teaching: instead of procrastinating—or being overwhelmed by a large task—deconstruct, categorize, prioritize, and persevere.

Another monumental achievement from Joanne Foster.

Nancy Kopman
Recording Artist, Educational Children’s Music

I thought the book was very well written and insightful. It definitely helped me, as I procrastinate a lot. I like the concept and ideas of Bust Your BUTS.

Alex Nemes

Bust Your BUTS is written for teenagers, but I found that it really inspired me as an adult (and teacher). This book is full of excellent reminders and strategies to help eliminate procrastination for myself, my children, and my students. It is easy to read and well organized. The quotes that are embedded in the book from other authors and famous figures make the book so real to life. Teaching self-regulation is a passion of mine, and developing a growth mindset is a definite key to overcoming procrastination. Bust Your BUTS is full of practical strategies like these that will help kids stop procrastinating.

Sandra Lynch
Instructional Program Leader of Special Education, Halton District School Board

I love this book! Joanne Foster’s book, Bust Your BUTS is like having a personal coach walking through steps to help teens overcome procrastination. The conversational tone makes this book an easy read. It is chock-full of strategies but more importantly, Joanne Foster takes a deep dive in looking why procrastination occurs. Without understanding the “why” it’s difficult to implement the solutions with commitment and conviction. She does this so well throughout the entire book. Not only will this book help teens but should be a must read for parents, guardians and teachers!

Mitzi Weinman
Speaker, Leader, and Coach at TimeFinder; Author of “It’s About Time: Transforming Chaos into Calm, A to Z”

Bust Your Buts is the second book written by Dr. Joanne Foster about procrastination, with this book, unlike her first, being aimed at teenagers and children. As a teenager who procrastinates myself, this book was extremely helpful. Throughout, it helps identify different reasons for procrastinating, or buts, and lists many practical ways to overcome them. Though not all of these reasons for procrastinating were relevant to me, there were plenty that I could relate to, and the advice was easily applied into my life. Some examples of ‘buts’ include having too much to do, being afraid to fail and simply not wanting to carry out the necessary tasks. Many gifted children and teenagers experience these challenges, and often procrastinate over the more important, boring or challenging tasks so that they don’t have to face them. Overall, this book is great for dipping into and finding out what your buts are, and is a useful tool for any procrastinator. I’m going to continue using the methods in this book to stop my procrastination… starting next week.

Xavier Dickason
Teenager, New Zealand

I read this book before giving it to my nephew and niece to read. I learned a lot that reinforced what I already know. The advice was good and it was told in a humorous manner. This book was so right, so intuitively correct.

N. Weinberg
Independent Information Technology and Services Professional

Dr. Joanne Foster has written a user-friendly guide to help teenagers who want to be more effective and successful. Bust Your Buts is directed at teens, but it’s helpful for anyone who has trouble getting their act together, or isn’t as productive as they’d like to be. It explores reasons we procrastinate–too much to do, trouble managing distractions, risk-avoidance, confidence problems, and lots more–and describes ways to power through those reasons to happy productivity.

Dr. Dona Matthews
Educational Psychologist and Award-winning Author

ANOTHER wonderful book from a trusted expert. BUT this book should be a must-read for tweens and teens. It offers a variety of sensible, practical guidelines on how to work through any excuses, manage the process and ultimately, succeed. It takes a community to raise a child, and I would recommend this book to anyone who cares about offering some strong solutions to the children in their lives. Parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, educators. What are you waiting for????

Barb Weisberg
Parent and Community Leader

Table of Contents

Introduction: This book is for TEENS. Here’s why… And, here’s how to use to your advantage info and sure-fire tips to eliminate and manage procrastination NOW.

Chapter 1 – About Procrastination

  1. What is procrastination?
  2. Is procrastination bad and are there ways around it, or are you forever doomed?
  3. Procrastination and power struggles?

Chapter 2 – Personal Reasons for Procrastination: What Are Your BUTS?

  1. BUT… I have too much to do
  2. BUT… I don’t care
  3. BUT… I’m bored
  4. BUT… I’m not confident
  5. BUT… I might do badly (fear of failure)
  6. BUT… I might do so well that I’ll be expected to do more (fear of success)
  7. BUT… My feelings get in the way
  8. BUT… What if it’s not perfect?
  9. BUT… I don’t feel well (health—low on sleep, energy, nutrition or exercise)
  10. BUT… I’m confused
  11. BUT… I’m lazy
  12. BUT… I have to look at the BIG picture first

Chapter 3 – Skill-Related Reasons for Procrastination: What Are Your BUTS?

  1. BUT… I’m disorganized
  2. BUT… I have trouble setting goals
  3. BUT… Prioritizing and decision-making are hard for me
  4. BUT… I don’t have the knowledge
  5. BUT… Hey, look at my track record (past experience)
  6. BUT… I have difficulty with time management (including planning and preparation)
  7. BUT… I’d rather do something else instead
  8. BUT… I hate doing anything risky

Chapter 4 – External Reasons for Procrastination: What Are Your BUTS?

  1. BUT… I get distracted
  2. BUT… I need more structure
  3. BUT… Other people keep pestering me
  4. BUT… I don’t have what I need (materials or support)
  5. BUT… It’s not fair!
  6. BUT… What about my friends?
  7. BUT… There are too many technological demands
  8. BUT… My parents procrastinate

Chapter 5 – But What If…?

  • The power of possibility
  • What if all else fails? (20 Don’ts)
  • Where to look for more information
    • 1) More about motivation
      • Top motivators
      • Inspirational reading
      • Brain-building experiences
    • 2) More about time management
      • Drawing the line
      • Organizational strategies
      • Habits and practical tactics
    • 3) More about developing personal strengths
      • Cool heads prevail
      • Bringing out the best
  • Last words

A Few Excerpts from the Book

It’s easy for people to jump to conclusions about procrastinators, but the truth is that everyone is different, and so are the reasons for their behaviors and attitudes.
Have you ever thought about how you use time during the day? Are you wasteful? Do you have sensible routines in place? Do you do things logically or randomly? It makes good sense to think about how you use (or fritter away) time, and how you can become more efficient. Then you won’t feel overwhelmed, and you’ll be less apt to procrastinate.
You can learn to define your own success, and the path you want to take to get there. It may be by improving on something you can already do, or by progressing a little rather than a lot. Success is not necessarily about grades. Or prizes. Or applause. Success means something different to everyone. If you’re willing to challenge your understandings of success, and you don’t focus exclusively on big accomplishments, you’ll experience more successes—and greater confidence.
Putting things off so you can see the entire scope of a task may seem strategic, but when you stop to think about it, a BIG task is really just a bunch of smaller ones. If you view them as bite-sized pieces, instead of a huge plate full of stuff, it will be easier to digest. No one can eat an entire pizza in one swallow. You might want to see the whole thing, but regardless of what it looks like in its entirety, it will taste the same whether you see it or not, and the truth is that you still have to tackle it one piece at a time. And, as you do, the BIGness becomes less big…
Without parameters (think boundaries), people tend to wander. For example, if you gaze at the entire night sky filled with a zillion stars, your eyes will go every which way, and it will be difficult to concentrate for long on one small cluster. However, if you discipline yourself to focus on just one segment of the vast sky, then you can better appreciate that small constellation. Similarly, if you have a pile of things you have to do, but you don’t have a framework for action, then you may be inclined to be all over the place.
Get to know your feelings, attitudes, and habits. The good, and the not-so-good but fixable. The better you know yourself, the sooner you can get down to the business of tapping your strengths, bolstering your weaknesses, and doing what you have to do.

Bust Your BUTS | | by Dr. Joanne Foster, Author, Advocate for Gifted Learning

What is the target audience for this book?

Bust Your BUTS is geared for kids who need some incentive to overcome, manage, or eliminate procrastination tendencies. This book will also resonate for those who want to understand how to become more productive or tackle challenges. Readers 12 and over will find much to consider and to apply to their own situations, but children who are younger will find helpful information and strategies, too. Parents, teachers, and adults who also procrastinate, or who want to help kids meet their goals, will benefit from reading the hundreds of strategies that Dr. Foster provides.

What is the main focus of this book?

Bust Your BUTS is about dealing with the realities of procrastination. There’s information about what underlies procrastination, and lots of BUTS—that is, specific reasons for putting things off. These include 12 personal reasons, 8 skill-related reasons, 8 external reasons, as well as key information about motivation, time management, and developing personal strengths. Dr. Foster reveals many insights, and shares practical strategies as she addresses each of these areas of focus.

How many pages are there in this book?

There are 158 pages in Bust Your BUTS.

Why is Dr. Foster qualified to have written this book?

Dr. Foster understands that kids must develop agency and accountability for their own actions (or inactions). She has a Master’s degree in Special Education and Adaptive Instruction, and knows that some children need help to address their learning needs, and to co-create and meet expectations. Dr. Foster has been teaching and writing about motivation and productivity for a long time, including writing on this for The Encyclopedia of Giftedness, Creativity and Talent and in numerous articles. She has also shared information on motivational and procrastination-busting strategies in, conference presentations, podcasts, webinars, and interviews. Dr. Foster wrote Not Now, Maybe Later prior to writing Bust Your BUTS.

What supplementary resources can readers find within this book?

Each chapter contains many practical tips for readers to consider. There are several pages of relevant references (pp. 141 – 144), and carefully detailed endnotes (pp. 145 – 156). There is also a FREE downloadable resource booklet called The Latest Productivity Boosts, available through the publisher, and accessible at the Bookshop on Gifted Unlimited LLC website here. It contains fifty tips to help kids and their family members restore and maintain focus, stay motivated, and accomplish goals,

What kinds of reviews has this book received?

Bust Your BUTS won the prestigious Silver Benjamin Franklin Award (in the category of teen non-fiction)—awarded by the Independent Book Publishers’ Association. Reviews include such comments as “well-crafted resource tool,” “transformational,” “outstanding book,” and “quick, light, practical guide.” Additional words of praise include: “a must-have for teens—and educators and parents,” “so right, so intuitively correct,” “well-organized for a start-to-finish read or a quick reference,” and “another wonderful book from a trusted expert.” See more comments by clicking the ‘Reviews” tab on the Bust Your BUTS page on this website.

Are there any illustrations or charts in this book?

There are no illustrations or charts in Bust Your BUTS. However, there are lots of bullet-pointed strategies throughout each chapter.

How can I see samples of the content of this book?

There is an “Excerpts” tab on the Bust Your BUTS book page on this website.

Is there a book club guide or other online material that supplements this book?

Dr. Foster is the author of Not Now, Maybe Later, which is geared for parents of procrastinating kids, and complements Bust Your BUTS. She has also written many articles and given presentations on the topic of procrastination, and some of these are accessible online or on the “Resources” page of this website.


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