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Reading

4. Read the text and answer the questions below.

Procrastination – a difficult word that makes life difficult

This word is not often used, and probably you’ve never come across it before, still a lot of people (including you may be) procrastinate every day of their lives. Longman dictionary gives the following definition: to procrastinate – to delay repeatedly and without good reason doing something that must be done.

How often do you put off doing something? You know you should do it, but you don’t. We often try to put off difficult tasks, unpleasant things. In spite of what the dictionary says, usually we have reasons for putting things off, we say to ourselves:

• I don’t have time.

• It’s unpleasant.

• I have too many other things to do.

• It’s difficult.

• I don’t feel like doing it now.

• I have a headache.

• I’m tired.

• Let me have a cup of coffee first.

• It might not work.

• I’ll do it when I can concentrate on it.

• I must think about it.

• Before I start I think I’ll take a break.

Well, we can think of plenty of excuses. However scientists say that the main reason for procrastination is fear or worry. We are simply afraid of doing something, so we invent excuses, try to put off doing it and secretly hope that the problem will go away by itself. It does not. Instead procrastination creates more fear and worry and more problems.

Procrastination is a bad habit, which can affect your work and your life. Try to fight it. The following tips may help:

• Keep your to-do list – write down things you have to do.

• Break down big jobs into smaller parts – even five minutes is enough to do something. The most difficult thing is to start. Once you start you usually get going. So get started.

• Try to get a better sense of time. We often think the job will take forever and so we try to avoid it.

• Set deadlines to yourself. If it doesn’t work, make them public.

Remember: procrastination wastes a lot of your time and time lost is lost forever, yesterday will never come back.

· Does procrastination affect your life?

  • Do you often put off doing something?
  • What do you think is the main reason for procrastination?
  • How can we fight a habit of putting off difficult tasks?

5. Express the following in one word.

waste, procrastinate, excuse, failure, deadline

1 delay action

2 use without a good purpose

3 fixed date for finishing (doing) something

4 reason given (true or invented) to explain or defend one’s conduct

5 lack of success

6. Fill in the correct word from the list below.

avoid, put off, excuses, success, discipline, procrastinated, wasted

1 There’s always the temptation to … the most difficult task till last.

2 He … until it was too late.

3 He’s always making … for being late.

4 Try to … danger.

5 The thought of … years behind him made Mark sick with bitterness.

6 He had all the attributes of a great leader: charisma, energy, ... and resourcefulness.

7 All great leaders share certain characteristics which must be seen as the key to their ... .

7. Complete the following text with the words in the box.

successful, famous, nervous, deal, managed, carefully, prepare

How to Succeed

Let me make a suggestion to help you (1) ____ with difficult situations. If, for example, you are taking part in a sports competition, meeting someone important, or giving a performance in front of a large audience, you will probably be quite (2) ____, and worry that you will not be as (3) ____ as you would like to be. What you need to do is to (4) ____ yourself thoroughly by running through the whole activity over and over again in your mind, (5) ____ going through every detail. For example, a (6) ____ pianist, imprisoned for seven years for political reasons, could still play magnificently on his release. When asked how he (7) ____ to play so well, his explanation was that he had practiced every day in his mind.


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