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Deadlines: the procrastinator’s best friend

I can only imagine the arguments staring up in your mind concerning this paradoxical claim. Although, if you think about it carefully, it turns out to be true. Procrastinators are people who usually hesitate to do important things and shift them to later dates. They are usually provoked to act when they have deadlines to meet. So, they hate deadlines but, they should love it. It only pushes them to be productive.
A deadline is a set date for a particular assignment to be completed.

Oxford Dictionary refers to it as “the latest time or date by which something should be completed”. It’s a wonder the kind of courage people exhibit when they keep things undone till the last minute. People go as far as asking for more time and get judgmental when things don’t go their way. The fact is that deadlines don’t care if you need more time.

Deadlines are eaters of time. Have you noticed that the moment there’s a deadline, time runs faster? I remember the first semester in my final year. We had a mini-project to work on in eight weeks and we looked at it as two whole months.To my surprise, two months turned into two weeks. I had marks to lose so, I had to burn midnight candles. I guess if I had started earlier, I could have been writing two paragraphs a week with a clear peaceful mind to work on my mini-project.

I had to rush and I barely passed the pass mark. Of course, some people are very smart and can work with limited time, but, it’s not advisable. There are other things those midnight candles could have saved you like; time to study for exams, and time to rest so you can have enough energy to combat stress. In any way you choose to look at it, a deadline is not the enemy. Here are ways to love deadlines.

How do we love deadlines?

Plan your schedule.

Many problems can occur when proper planning does not take place. It is essential to plan accordingly. If you have a deadline, arrange your schedule and work towards it to avoid being caught off guard. It’s okay to forget about tasks but when you plan your schedule, it serves as a reminder. Set buzzers for each event. I can remember cases where I forget about tasks because I didn’t set reminders for them. I started using alarms and it has worked wonders.

Start immediately.

“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today?” This quote from Benjamin Franklin says it all. There is no guarantee that you will find time to go back to them so, start now. Even when you forget about them, you’ll realize that you had ideas you must have come up with from the beginning.When a task is given, the plan for it plays on your mind already so, when you start immediately, you take down important guidelines on how to accomplish it. Understanding how unreliable human memory is, it is very likely that the initial plan would be forgotten.

Set a closer deadline for yourself.

This might sound weird but it works. Pick a closer date or time than the deadline given. If it is in a month, give it two weeks. It’s not just procrastinators, people are more active when there is limited time. Like Rick Riordan says; “Deadlines just aren’t real to me until I’m staring one in the face.”

Prioritize your activities.

Is this activity more important than the task ahead? That’s the question you should have in mind any time you push the time for a task forward. It works every time. Whatever you want to do before the deadline can be done after you have completed your task. Deadlines don’t wait for you. It is always the other way round so, priority is key.

Stay motivated

Sometimes there are added advantages for completing tasks before deadlines but they may not be there every time so, you must motivate yourself. A mentor of mine once said; “when I was about to sit for my WASSCE (West African Secondary School Certificate Examination) and I could not afford tutorial centres. I bought biscuits and went to a school close to my house and studied past questions.When I got an answer right, I ate a biscuit.” We all laughed but that was his motivation.

He is the founder of one of the best tutorial colleges today and he produces, at least, a thousand qualified undergraduates and the same amount of successful first school leaving certificate holders every year. What is that thing you love so much? Deny yourself of that thing until you have completed a task. Discipline and motivation go hand in hand sometimes. I can just imagine someone telling me to finish my task for today and get a pizza. Oh! I will work with the speed of light! Lol.

To round this up, procrastination is not an offence but it can be a menace sometimes. It takes away your productivity and can cost you a lot. Life itself has a deadline.We all want to do everything on time so that we’re not left behind. Try to fix deadlines for every task you have even when you don’t need them. It gives you speed. “A deadline is negative inspiration. Still, it’s better than no inspiration at all.”- Rita Mae Brown

Ifunanya Mbakogu

Ifunanya Mbakogu is a professional editor and proofreader with a bachelor's degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. Drawing from a solid level of interpersonal and analytic skills, she is able to present societal issues and matters arising in engaging ways. She is an Editor at Talku Talku.

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