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How to beat procrastination

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In a previous article, I dealt with ‘How to break new grounds; the essence of having a formidable kick start’. As a visionary, I know that a lot goes into a person’s beginning in life, business, career, education and much more. Therefore, I feel that I should dig more into the beginning of a vision, so that whoever is encountering some challenges at inception would realise that challenges are all part of the road a person must go through before reaching that enviable place that every visionary admires. Due to ignorance, a lot of folks have abandoned their lifetime dreams when they had head-on collisions with unforeseen obstacles. I must be emphatic in saying that every vision has ready-made challenges ahead of it. Until you realise it, you will keep sobbing like a baby. You must understand that there is no one who has stood out in the past or present that never went through hell before reaching heaven. The truth is that the only road to the paradise every vision offers was constructed through the pit of hell. So, if you’re willing and ready to succeed, you must also have the mentality to endure the pains that come with success. I’m not trying to scare you; I’m only trying to be honest.

The challenges visionaries encounter are both intrinsic and extrinsic; the intrinsic challenges are the ones that emanate from the visionary while the extrinsic ones are external variables outside his control. Whether internal or external, challenges come to either strengthen or dampen a vision. The strengthening or dampening of a vision by challenges is dictated by the response or responses of the visionary; the attitude of the visionary determines the direction a vision goes when it is blown by the storm of challenges.

What is a challenge? A challenge is something that by its nature or character serves as a call to battle, fight, contest, or special effort. A challenge demands that you justify your call for a vision. Bluntly speaking, a challenge is a confrontation, provocation, ultimatum or objection to your qualification for that thing you call a dream. So, if you cower in front of challenges, it means that in the first instance, you were a wrong choice for the baton that was handed over to you. You need to prove that you’re up to the task by standing tall when deliberate potholes are dug on your route to the place where that picture you’ve always seen in your heart resides. Don’t always bend to cross over; sometimes, you must leap because bending may either break your back or head. Either way, you get hurt; a hurt might impede your movement to your vision. So, face the challenge and deal with it, if you really want to get there.

The first and major challenge a visionary encounters is PROCRASTINATION. Procrastination promises to take action but never does. Procrastination says, ‘I will do it tomorrow’, but tomorrow never comes. Procrastination defers or delays actions until it’s too late. The demon of procrastination hesitates, postpones, suspends, prolongs, and retards purposeful actions.

I have a friend; a great and very intelligent friend. She is one of the best unknown and unpublished poets I’ve ever met in my life. Her poems are unbelievably outstanding and astonishing, but her problem is procrastination. In our first meeting, I decided to step into her case. My determination was to help her publish her first poetry book. Together with another friend that is an animation expert, we gave her a deadline to collate her works; she was given one month to get the hard and soft copies together; an assignment that shouldn’t take more than three days. Two months have passed plus a couple of reminders; no job done. The only assignment she carried out was to respond to a text message saying, ‘I will do it’. The question is when will she do it? My sincere answer is, ‘She may never do it’.

The language spoken by everyone that procrastinates is EXCUSES. When they make these excuses, even in their own consciences, they are not convinced. If they can’t convince themselves, what makes them think that they can convince another person? People, with procrastinations have debarred themselves of the huge privileges that were at their beck and call. If you want to make that vision a possibility, you must divorce procrastination, otherwise; you may never get there.

How can you deal with procrastination? It is easy for me to begin by proffering a solution of target setting, but the reality on ground is that many people that procrastinate actually set targets but never do a single thing before the targets expire. At the beginning of each year, a lot of people make New Year resolutions, but because these resolutions lack revolutions, nothing happens. How then can this daredevil called procrastination be eliminated? From my personal experience, I will make some recommendations.

1. To deal with procrastination, you must tie your goal to your life: if a man does not see his life in his goal, he will not die for it. Everyone will get up to fight for a pursuit if he knows that without its actualisation, he will end up in the grave. Everyone has the tendency to chase excellence and positive character aggressively if he knows that the comfort of his life is in jeopardy.

A Somalia neighbour once told me the story of his son. While in primary school, this boy was one of the best in his class, but when he crossed to secondary school, he joined the wrong crowd and began to misbehave; he was always rude to his teachers. One day, the Head of School invited his mum to school in order to acquaint her with the current development. Before this boy was the mum, head teacher and class teacher. In spite of the fact that his mum was present, the boy threw caution into the wind and started insulting his teacher. This woman was in shock because she never imagined that her son could be such rude. Suddenly, an idea cropped up in her mind. She openly declared that she was taking the boy back to Somali to live with her father in the village; he was to join his grandfather in the business of cattle rearing. The boy, realising that his mother meant business plus the fact that the standard of living in United Kingdom compared to Somali was convincingly wide, broke into tears. He knew that his life was at stake; he pleaded for mercy and instantly made a decision to change. The end of the story is that he actually changed. He set a new goal to perform excellently well during the term; he achieved it. For weeks, he joined the cleaners in tidying up the school; his attitude to his teacher, school and academics completely turned around for good because his life was tied to his goal. The agreement reached between him and his mum was that if he doesn’t achieve the set goal, he’ll be taken back to Somali. He didn’t just achieve the goal, he went beyond.

Until people see their lives in their goals and their goals in their lives, they will keep procrastinating.

2. To deal with procrastination, you must tie your goal to your joy: if it doesn’t bring you joy, it cannot excite you. Setting a goal in what you’re passionate about, makes you joyful. If it excites you, you don’t need anyone to remind you about achieving it. It is expedient for a man to go for his passion, otherwise; work will become punishment or hard labour. The only way to enjoy work is when it brings happiness. There are people making money out of what they love doing. To them, it’s like fun; but, they’re making a great living out of it. Go for joy when it comes to goal. Joy is in what you’re naturally endowed to do; that is talent.

3. To deal with procrastination, begin now: there is no better time to start but now; later is always too late. If you don’t start now, you will continue to have reasons why you should not start. You don’t need to know all the strategies, plans and methodologies before you begin; learn on the go. Making mistakes is part of the journey; learn from your mistakes and move on. People, who don’t begin now, never ever begin. If you have an idea of what you have to do, start doing it now. No one who starts now ever procrastinates. The future you’re beholding begins now. The destiny you’ve been professing begins now. The vision you’ve been declaring begins now. Start that course now. Start that business now. Start writing that book now. The odds may be there, but the only way they can be removed is when you begin now. Don’t begin tomorrow; tomorrow is an illusion; it is not guaranteed. The only guarantee of life you have is this present moment. If you can’t use this moment, you don’t have the experience to manage tomorrow. Tomorrow is only given to those who make good use of today. Stop procrastinating, begin NOW!

 

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Ken is a leadership Motivation, Strategy and Personal Development Writer, Blogger and Speaker. He writes for a number of magazines and blogs. He is also a mentor and published author of several books.

2 Comments

  1. This post has come at a time when I need it the most…Thank You Sir for sharing this wisdom nuggets…oh you don’t know how much I needed to read them….:-)

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