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-By Favour C. Nrabulu

“A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” is a phrase we are all familiar with but how often do we still fall prey to the enemy called procrastination?

The truth is that we have all been guilty of procrastinating at one time or the other. Luckily for some of us, we have been able to identify it for what it is; a dream killer and in effect has worked actively and consciously to ensure it doesn’t affect our lives in the long run. Some of us haven’t been as lucky; we haven’t realized that it is a problem that could end up making you lose precious time, blow opportunities, lose set goals, ruin your career, make poor decisions and damage your reputation. We do realize it for what it is but are in a fix as to how to overcome it before it overcomes us.

As we begin this New Year, it is important that we try as much as possible to achieve all that we set out this year to achieve and nothing should be allowed to be an obstacle including ourselves through procrastination, hence why it is our topic of discussion this month.

Before you can tackle it, you need to recognize and acknowledge that you have been procrastinating and work out the reason why. It could be because you find a task boring, unpleasant or overwhelming or perhaps you have doubts about your ability to carry it out and you are trying to avoid failure. Whatever the reason, you need to be true to yourself and identify the real reason so you can tackle it.

After identifying the real reason behind your procrastinating tendencies, you need to adopt anti-procrastination strategies as follows;

1. Forgive yourself for procrastinating in the past and for the failures and losses you encountered as a result.

2. Whenever you have a task to carry out, make sure you commit yourself to it. Focus more on doing, not avoiding. An easy way to accomplish this is to write down the tasks you have to complete as well as a specific time for doing them and make sure you commit yourself to carrying them out one at a time.

3. Tackle tasks as they come up instead of allowing them build up over a period of time before tackling them so you don’t get discouraged by the enormousness of what you have waiting for you to do.

4. Ask someone to keep you accountable. Sometimes, a bit of external pressure is enough to hold you accountable and keep you in check. Your accountability partner could be a friend, a family member, or a mentor; someone you respect enough to listen to when you are not working as you should.

5. Minimize and avoid distractions as much as possible. Do not allow activities with friends, watching television or the likes to distract you from your set tasks and when you do realize that you are falling prey to distractions, cut them off immediately.

6. Do those tasks that you do not enjoy first so you can get them out of the way and focus on the more enjoyable tasks at hand.

7. Reward yourself when you accomplish a difficult task on time. Also, allow yourself to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment and try to remember that feeling next time when procrastination tries to creeps in.

Procrastination is a deeply ingrained pattern of behavior (a habit) that has been built over time. This means that you probably can’t break it over night. As you try these strategies, give yourself time and you will eventually overcome it.