[ Often times we always want to put doing certain things away for some time, when it is time (the time we have set, ourselves), we put away the activity again until procrastination becomes a pain!
This reminds me of a time i procrastinated so much that i ended up breaking up an otherwise beautiful friendship. I used to have this close friend while i was in high school. You know that period you are home, writing Jamb (university entrance exams), awaiting results from NECO and WAEC and GCE and all the naughty things you get up to (i was a good girl though i promise!)? Well, myself and my friend were in that state of “limbo” when her elder sister got married. We were chosen as bridesmaids (yeah! I still can feel my excitement even now!). You see, it was the first time i ever had the honour of being someone’s bridesmaid! It was so awesome, i started planning. Now, there was a downside though. Being chosen as a bridesmaid does not automatically mean you have to get the dress for free. You have to pay! I was a young school girl, things were bad at home so i couldn’t just go ask my parents for the money to make the dress. My friend knew the situation then and her family agreed to make the dress for me so i could pay later.
In retrospect (hindsight is a bi***), i should probably have opted out knowing fully well that i would not be able to pay! But no one and nothing was going to deter me from being a princess in a bridesmaid’s dress! The day of the wedding came, we dressed up, danced, had fun and went home. Dress was taken off and ironically, never to be worn again. Oh well, it did serve a purpose right? The payment became an issue. Things got worse at the home front, i wasn’t working and of course there was no way i could pay. As a matter of fact, this lingered on for years until it became this huge gaping hole between me and my friend and spoilt a childhood friendship that should have blossomed into adulthood. Things became deteriorated between our families to the extent we stopped talking to each other.
A few years down the line, my friend lost one of the only two brothers she has. Out of shame, i never went to say sorry (even though deep inside me, i was mourning her loss). I would tell mutual friends to go visit and console her but i never went. Procrastination is a pain! I tell you. The result, i lost my friend! I lost a childhood friend to procrastination.
The moral of the story? Stop procrastinating. It is a pain that will inflict much more pain! Just imagine procrastinating on a job assignment only to do it at the last moment with errors that could have been detected if you had done it earlier. Instead, you got humiliated at the annual general meeting at your workplace for “your not too stellar performance”. When it is time to do something, do it. Apologize (in my own case) if you need to apologize for your mistakes (even when you don’t need to). That “to do” list on the sticky notes on your laptop at the office, start crossing them off. The business you have been planning to start for the past few years or so, get to it. Start now. Start today. Not tomorrow. Do i need to remind you that if you are gunning to get a PhD (like me), you should get to it now? Whatever you need to do, get to it. Don’t wait.
Imagine, a festering wound getting bigger and bigger, every day because you refused to take care of it. Then it gets so big that even when it heals, it leaves this huge scar behind which should in essence shouldn’t have left any scar at all if you had done all you were supposed to have done when the wound was this tiny.
A few years ago, myself and Mary were connected again (we lost contact for several years) through one of her sisters. We talked on phone a couple of times but have never seen face to face since the incident from our high school days. At times i wonder what would have happened, if our friendship would have blossomed through the years?
Lets all do what we have to do at every stage in our lives to save us the pain of procrastination. Here are five tips for overcoming procrastination on a daily basis.
- Look at the big picture: Most times we focus on the immediate (short term) instead of looking at the long term gains of carrying out a specific task or doing something at a particular time. For instance, we want to focus on the boring or unbearable (short term) aspects that may be associated with completing/carrying out/doing something as opposed to the gains (long term) for example, the feeling of contentment and achievement, praise etc from getting the “task” done. Imagine the feeling of relief you get after making that call you have been dreading to make all week long and the feeling of achievement after completing an important assignment at the office on time and doing it perfectly and the praise you got from boss man!
- Break task into smaller sizes: If a task is daunting just because of the sheer size of of it, break the task into smaller sizes and get to it. Let’s see, you need to prep meals for the new diet (or a resolution to eat healthier) and it just seems so enormous. All those meals to prepare! You could break it into preparing all the breakfasts in one day, lunch packs in another day and so on. Instead of prepping all the meals in one day. You are well on your way to a healthier you!
- Be realistic: Setting goals and targets is all good but when you do set them, be realistic. Often times, we want to “over achieve” and we end up setting goals and targets that result to stress. To avoid this, know and understand your limits and capabilities and work around them in getting a specific task done or doing something. For instance, i function optimally at nights and in the early mornings so i tend to “get things” done better during those periods. For some reason, once it is 12 noon (even when i was in the university), it always seem as if my whole body system is rebooting! As soon as i discovered this, i started working round it so it does not affect me in any way. Personally or professionally!
- Get a Partner!: The purpose of having a partner is to act as a check mate. Someone who would hold you accountable for something you need to do. It could be a colleague at the office, friend, partner, sister, brother etc. Not someone that will “help” you get away with not completing a task! Someone firm enough to push you to do what you need to do.
- Reward yourself!: After getting a task done, you could reward yourself by eating a large chunk of cake (Hahahaha. You will go do some jogging to burn off the calories!), get yourself something you have been wanting to get yourself. The idea of “rewarding yourself” of course means that this would be in the plan right before carrying out the task, doing whatever it is you want to do so that you can get motivated to do it. So plan something nice to reward yourself. It could be, being on social media for long periods of time (you have denied yourself while carrying out the task). So go on and reward yourself after achieving that goal and beating procrastination!
Now you know why they say, a stitch in time, saves nine!
To each, his/her own. That is why we all, are uniquely different.