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Read the passage carefully. Then choose the correct answer.
 
Procrastination is the act of putting off doing something important till a later date. Most of us procrastinate now and then. We may make big plans such as cleaning the house or starting on a diet but never carry them out. We may feel reluctant to take risks or try something new. Some of us blame others or situations for our unhappiness or to avoid doing something. While it's only an occasional problem for most, procrastination can be a chronic stumbling block for some.

There are many reasons for procrastinating. The first is that we may dread taking on a difficult or boring job. The other reason is fear of failure. When a task is perceived as long or difficult, many will procrastinate simply because there is no immediate gratification. For example, we may put off dieting because it could take months to lose those ten pounds. Fear of failure often comes into play at school where performance is evaluated and can affect our future success. A student may put off studying for a test until the last minute. Lack of time spent studying is a more desirable explanation for failure than lacking intelligence to learn something.

However, that one extra day (and the cake) does make a difference. Procrastination causes stress, anxiety and a feeling of failure. Students who fear failure ultimately face failure when they do not prepare for tests or start projects on time. Employees who begin tasks at the last minute rarely perform as well as their non-procrastinating colleagues. Putting off a diet program ultimately adds to the number of pounds you need to lose to be healthy, thus making the job much harder to accomplish.

If you are a chronic procrastinator, you will not cure yourself in a day. In order to come out of the habit, you need to follow these steps. First, figure out why you are procrastinating. Write down all the reasons why putting off your project will bring you one step closer to failure. Next, break down the task into smaller jobs. If it is a thirty-page paper due in two weeks, write down a goal of finishing three pages a night. Remind yourself (write it down and put it on the fridge) of how good you will feel when your project is done or when you have lost those ten pounds.

Those of us who procrastinate on a day-to-day basis need a realistic 'to-do' list. Keep the list with you and stick to the order. Cross things off as they are accomplished. Plan a reward for the end of the day if you accomplish all your tasks.

Tell your friends and family about your goals. If you have someone asking you how your diet is coming along, it is more difficult to cheat. If you have a long school project to do, ask a friend to help keep you on the task by calling each day to see what you have accomplished.

In conclusion, procrastination can cause you to miss opportunities and sabotage your future. Remember the saying, 'Procrastination is the thief of time', so stop procrastinating.

     
  1. From paragraph 1,
    (a) what is procrastination ?
    (b) according to the writer, what happens to some people when they face an unpleasant job ?
     
  2. From paragraph 2, why do people procrastinate when a job is difficult or boring ?
     
  3. From paragraph 3, name two negative effects of procrastination.
     
  4. From paragraph 4, what are the three steps mentioned to overcome procrastination ?
     
  5. From paragraph 5,
    (a) explain the phrase "a realistic 'to-do' list".
    (b) give another word to replace the word 'accomplished'.
     
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    Answers
     
  1. (a) It is the act of putting off doing something until a later date.
    (b) They blame other people or the situations they are in.
     
  2. This is because there is no immediate gratification.
     
  3. * It causes stress.   * It causes anxiety/feeling of failure.
     
  4. Write down reasons of how procrastinating will bring you closer to failure; Break down tasks into smaller jobs; Remind yourself in writing of how good it feels to achieve goals.
     
  5. (a) it is a list of things to do that is practical/possible to achieve.
    (b) 'achieved'
     
 
 
 
 

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