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[MOTIVATION] Procrastination – How to Avoid it?

The funny thing in IAS exam preparation process is that aspirants know what to do to succeed in this exam. But most of them will not do these things. Very few does and most of these few get selected to civil services this year or next year.

It is simple yet complicated: you know what to do but somehow you avoid doing these things. You have read toppers’ interviews; various strategies written by toppers; have attended workshops conducted by coaching institutions; read again and again IAS preparation and motivational articles; yet, you might be not be doing what it takes to become an IAS/IPS/IFS officer.

You are perfectly aware that writing practice helps in Mains, but keep on postponing it. You tell yourself that first you will acquire knowledge and then attempt these questions. That day will either come very late or will never come only.  You know that solving mock papers for prelims helps, but you somehow avoid solving them today.


You might be procrastinating because of fear of failure, lack of confidence or because of lack of motivation. You might be postponing because you want to achieve perfection – in making notes, in writing answers, in understanding concepts or in acquiring materials. Every time you postpone something that can be done today, you are harming your chances of success. Because there is someone out there not postponing things and he/she is bettering her chances at succeeding in this exam.

When you feel like postponing a task, you push yourself to do an easier task avoiding a difficult one. This tendency, if continued, will kill your new year resolutions – “I must get top rank at any cost in 2016 attempt!”; “God, let 2016 be my best and last attempt!”; “I am tired with this exam, but I will give my best attempt this year and go to LBSNAA at any cost. No more UPSC in 2017.”

It is very easy to postpone a task by self-justifications; For example, “I will solve Insights Test tomorrow as today I have to complete reading current events.” You might give the test tomorrow, but first you should find out reasons why you are postponing it for a day. If 1000 people are giving exam on the same day as scheduled and getting decent marks, why can’t you?

Whenever you feel like postponing a task, ask yourself following questions: Can I complete this task today? why am I feeling like postponing it? Is the reason I am giving myself logical and valid? Will I really utilize today’s time to the best possible way if I postpone this task?

When you constantly postpone doing something, over time they accumulate and act as big burden on you. For example, there are some people who are yet to solve 4-5 tests even though they had enrolled on the first day itself. They had enough time to study. Some may be exceptions such as those who were taking optional subject coaching, but majority had time to study and follow the timetable. Now these pending tests not only act as burden, they also hold them back from giving next test. They keep telling themselves that they will first give pending tests and then go for new ones. Pressure just mounts with each passing day.

Did you notice? Today it’s 9th January. New year day was… just like yesterday. Days are moving fast. Notification for Prelims 2016 will be on your way in no time.

Fortunately, time is with you. If you have pending tasks, for now ignore them and focus on what’s coming next. It might be next prelims test, tomorrow’s  secure questions. Do not worry about what you could not do. Focus on what you can do. Once you build momentum, you can improve speed – in writing, reading and solving papers, and then take pending tasks one by one whenever you find time and complete them.

For example, if you are yet to solve 4 prelims tests, don’t worry about them. Study for the next test. Try to complete next test’s syllabus as fast as possible. In between, solve one of those pending tests without preparing for them. It is better to solve them and learn something from solutions given than sitting on them till prelims day approaches. 

You know that you want to achieve your dream in this attempt itself. You also clearly know what to do to achieve your dream. 

Is there any excuse why you are not doing what it takes to clear this exam? What is needed is strong will, good study environment and proper guidance. Latter two are easily available, but strong will? it should come from within. It will come when you realize that it’s after all a competition – if you run slow, someone will run fast and stand on the podium gleefully posing for photographs.

As said earlier, time is still with you. Don’t panic. From today do what needs to be done today. There is no point in postponing. All you gain extra by postponing is more mental pressure. Sleepless nights. Panic attacks. And, missing the train to LBSNAA.

Take rest on Sundays, and for the rest of the week work as hard as possible. Try to enjoy your work. Try to be happy while preparing for this exam. Relax now and then. Talk with friends and family. Try to keep everyone happy too. 

This is one exam which helps you shape your personality for the better. It tests your character. It makes you humble. It makes you patient. Every ups and downs you face are for your good only. If you fall, you must get up as fast as possible and get moving (or running). 

This new year, make a resolution to not to break resolutions you have already made. Do justice to your ambitions. To your parents’ dreams. To their hard work. And finally, to your own conscience. 

After all, it’s you who have chosen this path. When you try your best and lose, at least you will have the satisfaction that you didn’t cheat anyone including your conscience.  

But you will not lose. You know you can clear this exam. If not, you would have never made a decision to prepare for this exam. Go for it.