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How to beat procrastination

Procrastination can restrict your potential and undermine your career. / Net photo.

Procrastination is a complex experience that many people engage in, some habitually, with negative consequences. It robs you of one of the most precious resources that you cannot replace; time.

And as time slips away and lists grow longer with unchecked tasks, some become discouraged and emotional, and it’s hard to push through the noise in our minds that tells us we have failed to live up to our responsibilities.


While procrastination might not be something you can avoid entirely, becoming cognizant of the reasons why you procrastinate and how to overcome those tendencies can help.


Alex Mulisa, a graphics designer, shares that he starts the day by creating a to-do list with things that he would like to accomplish and a date next to each item if there is a deadline that he needs to meet.


“It’s easier when you estimate how long each task will take to complete, if you are disciplined, you can beat the set deadline in shorter time and it’s easier to estimate how long each project will take,” he says.

He adds that in scenarios when one is faced with big projects, feeling daunted or even hopeless when you look at the amount of workload involved is common. He suggests breaking down individual items on the list into a series of steps.

For Stephen Nkotanyi, a freelance photographer, progress, no matter how small, is a huge motivator to help one keep going.

“My favourite trick for getting a task I’m dreading is to work on my mind-set. I start by just thinking about the task for a while, until I’m drawn in, get into the mood of working and before I know it, I can’t help working on it.

“To further ease my effort and put this into reality, I ask a colleague to help me get started on something I’ve been putting off by making me accountable. Having a motivator and cheerleader can put off the boredom that makes working alone unpleasant,” he says.

Nkotanyi adds that it is also important to reward yourself for your efforts, no matter how small, once you have completed a task.

“Ensuring that you are invested in the work can give you extra motivation to get it finished, even if you have so many distractions coming your way.

“Always remember to give yourself the opportunity to indulge in something that you find fun and enjoyable whenever you meet the set deadline, whether its playing a video game, watching your favourite TV show, or listening to music,” he says.

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