Q: I’m a 19-year-old student who procrastinates way too much, especially prior to my exams. Please help.

A: Statistics show that up to a third of students procrastinate so you are not alone. The good news is that the procrastination cycle is not impossible to break, the first step is to accept that you have a problem, and by asking for help, you have made that important first step.

Putting things off to the last moment will not only cause stress, it will ultimately cause you more emotional disturbance in the long term than addressing the tasks at hand.

There may be several causes of continually postponing assignments and here is how to deal with them:

Setting unrealistic targets: perfectionism seems to be a recurring challenge for many. Start out small – plan on spending a short dedicated amount of time, for example 30 minutes each evening revising a topic, but plan to start doing this a month before the exam.

Getting distracted: There’s little chance that exam preparation with your friends will get you anywhere apart from more distraction. Whilst studying, close down all things that have nothing to do with the job in hand. Share the plan with a person who will be supportive.

Clear your clutter away before you get started and make sure you can reach everything you need to assist your studies. Turn your phone off and put it out of sight.

For maximum efficiency, separate your work into equal chunks, create artificial deadlines for each sub task to stay on track.

The hardest part is to start, but once you start, you won’t stop. Trust me, stop overthinking and preparing for work and actually DO the work.

Motivation starts once you are doing the task don't wait for motivation to happen.

Russell Hemmings is a Dubai-based life coach and cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist (russellhemmings.co.uk). Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.

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