The hard way I learned to Overcome Procrastination

All I could hear myself say was, “I will do it later”. Even though I knew the importance of running this errand for my mom right away, I allowed procrastination get the best of me again.

I was in Primary 4 and will never forget the resounding slap mom gave me that day. Mom is a cool woman. One not given to using the rod on her kids. If anything, she prefers berating us when we flunk. And so, I never had to experience such reset-button moments growing up as a child. Though I wasn’t an over-pampered kid, I knew mom and her way of imparting life lessons. Slaps were a rarity.

Backtrack to hours before the slap

Mom had asked me to go fetch an item from one of our family friends who lived down the street. Our house was just a stone’s throw from the Bolu family. It would take about 5 minutes to walk down there. And so I delayed. But one thing I wasn’t careful to consider was that it was the rainy season, and it would take a longer time than usual to get to Bolu’s place. And so when I eventually got up to go, it had started to rain.

My saving grace that day, was the small yellow umbrella I had with me. My 5-minute journey eventually turned out to be 30 minutes, as I muddled through the muddy street alone.

When I got back home

Mom was already home. She returned shortly after I stepped out, and was expecting to see what she sent for. Lo and behold, the ground beans which she had dropped off at Iya Bolu’s place since morning had gone sour.

I am sorry mom, I muttered under my breath, in our dialect

But this time, she wasn’t going to listen. She had had enough of my sorry face lately. This was not the first or second incident that week. I had always loved to do things in my own time, my way, and that never met up to mom’s timeliness. I could see her turn red with holy anger. I didn’t even know whether to fly out the window or the door. The ground also would not open up to swallow me. I was in soup,  Hot soup.

As her hand landed on my face, I knew what it meant. Some reset button had just been punched, life lessons had been transferred in a matter of seconds, and I knew what that meant and did to me for life. Although the stars faded as soon as they appeared, the lesson didn’t. I cried that day. I believe mom was wicked. I was only a few minutes late. A few minutes. And that earned me a slap.

I couldn’t even eat dinner that day, and trust mum, she didn’t pet me. That was the experience that taught me a life lesson, never to procrastinate doing things. I grew up in a very disciplined Yoruba family, where life lessons were either caught or taught. But I am grateful for the kind of woman whose experiences have made of me.

And so

when next I try to delay action on what I should do, I always remember that day. Not for the slap but for the lessons. I will be frank with you, sometimes being quick to do things lands me in trouble. I make mistakes, but more often than not, this life principle I learned has helped me deal with procrastination a lot.

Procrastination has never done any good. It is what makes a person stare at the cloud, predict it will rain every time and never plant a seed in the ground.

If there is anything I always advocate, it’s, takes immediate actions now, don’t wait till your emotions and thoughts make you reason out the possibility of achieving what you want. Don’t procrastinate starting that business, registering for that course or starting that investment.


Remember, little drops of water make a mighty ocean. Likewise, the tiny imperfect steps you take now, are adding up to helping you fulfil your life goals.

It’s the beginning of the year and you may have written down audacious goals. Don’t procrastinate or wait till later before starting out. There won’t be a perfect time to start, so take the tiny baby steps you know and most importantly, start NOW!





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Joyce Olawunmi

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