YouthZone: Procrastination

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Have you ever heard of Rhoda Essien? Rhoda recently graduated from the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus and is a student at Windsor University School of Medicine. She’s had an impressive journey marked by her exceptional leadership and commitment to various initiatives.

With a Bachelor of Science degree—Honours in Information Technology— Rhoda’s academic and professional pursuits were evident early in life.

Her introduction to student leadership began at the Antigua Girls’ High School where she won the coveted position of Deputy Head Girl in 2016.

Then there was no holding back Rhoda at the tertiary level.

Showcasing her dedication to service and community engagement, Rhoda secured the post of Vice President of the Antigua State College Circle K Club. From 2020 to 2022, she held two significant roles at Mona: President of the UWI Mona Circle K International Club and External Affairs Chairperson (EAC) of the Antigua Barbuda Student Association.

Rhoda’s influence is extensive. She continues to promote women’s involvement in STEM fields and also sits on the United Nations Youth Advisory Group for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. Her hard work yielded numerous accolades, including the George Alleyne Hall’s Pinned Senator and Premier Award for Excellence in Leadership, the UWI Mona Guild Council’s Exemplary Leadership and Outstanding Performance awards, the University of the West Indies’ Individual Award Certificate for Outstanding Leadership Performance, and Distinguished President and Distinguished District Bulletin Editor-Caribbean Region.

So, how is this daughter of the soil able to accomplish so much by age 22? Rhoda knows how to fight procrastination. But is procrastination really bad? Postponing tasks or actions can provide temporary relief from stress and allow individuals to engage in leisurely events instead of focusing on demanding activities.

Procrastination also enhances creativity. Some people claim that they work better under pressure and find their creative juices flowing when they have limited time to complete a task. Many of you can agree that the urgency of a looming deadline sometimes stimulates innovative thinking.

Despite temporary relief or short-term benefits, chronic procrastination can hinder professional growth, limit educational opportunities, and cause personal dissatisfaction. It often leads to last-minute rushing which can significantly elevate stress levels and have adverse effects on mental well-being.

Procrastination also hampers productivity because valuable time is wasted, and tasks accumulate. Relationships also suffer. Dependability and reliability can be compromised, causing frustration and strained interactions with colleagues, friends, or family members.

Overall, procrastination may lead to missed opportunities and a damaged reputation.

To achieve Rhoda’s level of dedication and leadership prowess, you have to first determine the underlying causes—whether it be fear of failure, perfectionism, lack of interest, or feeling overwhelmed.

Citing psychiatrist Ned Hallowell, author Amy Gallo pointed out that there are two types of tasks most often deferred – something you don’t like to do and something you don’t know how to do.

“Once you’ve identified why you’re putting something off, you can break the cycle and prevent future bouts of procrastination,” said Gallo.

So, if that phone is the source of your procrastination, you may want to put your phone on airplane mode and position yourself in a quiet workspace and focus.

2 youthzone rhoda essien
Rhoda Essien

And Rhoda has some advice too. She wants young people “to cultivate unyielding determination” by setting ambitious goals, remaining disciplined, and prioritising learning.

“You should embrace challenges as stepping stones, push through doubts, and never lose sight of your dreams,” advised Rhoda.

But first, “Believe in yourself!” she stressed. If you commit to your planned schedule and hold yourself accountable, success will align with your clear, realistic goals, which you should define and break down into smaller, manageable tasks.

When you prioritise your tasks based on importance and urgency, this clarity will provide a sense of direction and make it easier to get started.

Developing effective time management skills is another essential step in overcoming procrastination. Explore different time management techniques, such as the Pomodoro Technique or time blocking. These methods involve working in focused bursts and taking regular breaks, helping to enhance productivity and maintain focus.

Rhoda’s academic and social support created an environment that facilitated holistic growth. This dedication led to her recognition as a Distinguished President, an honour bestowed upon those who exceed their roles’ expectations.

As you seek accountability and support, feel free to share your goals and progress with someone you trust. Such support and accountability can help you stay on track and overcome procrastination.

“Never worry alone,” is a major principle of psychiatrist Hallowell.

And never forget to prioritise self-care. Activities such as exercise, proper sleep, and relaxation can improve focus and overall well-being.

Additionally, always remember to reward yourself for completing tasks or reaching milestones. Celebrate achievements! Even small ones can reinforce positive behaviour and motivate you to continue making progress.

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