- Parent Category: Advanced Skill Builders
- Category: Advanced Skill Builders: Listening
- Written by Chris Cotter
Have you ever decided to watch TV rather than do homework or a school report? Have you ever decided to surf the Internet or read a book rather than do chores, run errands, or take care of bills? If you answered "yes," then you have procrastinated.
You aren't alone as everyone everywhere puts off unpleasant or boring activities with the intention to do the work eventually... just not at that particular moment. It's an impulse, much like when you act on a sudden desire to have a second bowl of ice cream or an extra-large slice of cake for dessert. It goes without saying that too many sweets can be terribly unhealthy, and procrastination often proves just as detrimental. Over time, it can result in a poorer and unhappier quality of life. It can adversely affect careers, as well as relationships with family and friends. For some even, there is an accompanying physical feeling, much like an anxiety attack or a tightness around the shoulders. Some substitute unimportant busywork, such as house cleaning or laundry, and argue that they don't procrastinate. But as this delays another, more unpleasant activity, it gets classified as procrastination, too.
Research indicates that there are two types of procrastinators. The first type views responsibility in a negative light, and so often directs energy into other activities. This person may just feel a need to avoid unpleasantness, which thus affects even people typically considered quite efficient. The second type often feels overwhelmed by pressure. This person may decide that it's better to start the task later, arguing that it will go smoother with a fresh mind and a fresh perspective tomorrow. Unfortunately, when tomorrow comes around, the excuse gets repeated, and repeated, and repeated every day. Guilt and apprehension eventually reach monumental proportions, forcing the person to simply throw in the towel. Some others will rush to complete the task at the eleventh hour, which greatly exacerbates the feeling of stress.
A handful of psychologists argue that modern society deserves the blame because there are too many distractions and sources of instant entertainment and gratification. Yet others argue that procrastination, in one guise of another, has always been part and parcel with the human psyche. Even the great Leonardo da Vinci procrastinated!
If you would like to free yourself of the habit, there's only bad news to be had. It's unfortunately impossible to completely stop your bad habit, and it's just a matter of how much you put things off. In this respect, a routine goes a long way to reduce the problem because you can build on the reliability a set schedule imparts. What's more, it also reduces stress and makes life more manageable. Experts suggest setting small goals and then making small improvements step by step. For example, if you procrastinate five times a week, then try to reduce it to four times, then three. Just remember: If you want to change how much you procrastinate, start today not tomorrow.
Step 1: Listen to the article, which is about 4.5 minutes long. Listen only, and don't worry about understanding everything.
Step 2: Listen once more, and try to understand the general information of each paragraph. In your head, explain a paragraph's main idea in one or two sentences. Write your paragraph summaries after you have listened to the whole article. Listen again, check your answers, and compare your answers with a partner.
Step 3: Look at the article, which has missing vocabulary words. Try to write any words that you remember from the listening. Listen once more, and write the missing words.
Step 4: Read the article, and look up any unknown words. Now listen again. Can you understand more?
Step 5: Listen! Listen! Listen! Listen to the article on the train or in your free time. Each time you listen, you will slowly improve!