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

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:

1. 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.

2. 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.

Recently, I’ve begun to take my anger out on my kids by yelling at them. It happens when I get home from work and I realise that I am too stressed from my job. What can I do?

Give yourself a break. You’re frustrated and upset, and you’re left wondering where it went wrong and why it always comes down to a yelling match. You’re more likely to be deflated and exhausted by the experience and end up becoming even more stressed. What you need to avoid is taking stress back home with you. You need to learn how to alter the way you communicate with your kids. Remember it’s okay to walk away and gain some space when you know you’re in danger of yelling, so you define 10 minutes as your own personal ‘time space’ in your room. Let everyone know what you’re doing is important to you. This is the void where you metaphorically switch from work to home, from professional to parent. Stay quiet, relax your breathing, disengage momentarily with everything and emerge ready to face whatever.