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Just Flip the Coin Over

We all have a to-do list of some sort. Most people make due with a mental one, organizing each day’s plans and priorities inside their head. I prefer to keep a written to-do list so I can do it more methodically and prevent memory lapses. In any case, we all need to sort our priorities each day and cross things off our list as the day progresses.

But alas, we’re all human. Even the most organized and focused among us cannot be maximally productive every waking minute of each day. I try to be, but I confess to falling short frequently. Sometimes fatigue sets in and I take a longer than intended break. Other times, my mind wanders off. But more insidious are the times when I just don’t feel like doing something even though I know it must get done. It’s the age-old coping mechanism we’ve all resorted to before: procrastination.

Personally, I tend to procrastinate on tasks that are mind-numbingly tedious or that I believe will be complicated and confusing. Dictionaries define procrastination merely as the delay or postponement of an action, but I posit that procrastination is more so a mood. It’s really the failure to act due to a dread of getting started. And I realize that the dread is all in my head.

We can’t purport to have pep and procrastinate at the same time, so I think the most effective solution to procrastination is to imagine it as one side of a coin. We just need to visualize a coin with two sides: Dread Getting Started / Look Forward to Getting It Done. Then, when you feel dread about getting started on something, try flipping the coin over in your head and look forward to getting it done instead.

It works because you already imagine being free and clear of the task, and that shifts your intention. “I intend to get started” and “I intend to get it done” are very different attitudes.

Obviously, all you’re doing is reversing your perspective. It’s not a complicated idea, but it takes practice to be able to implement it as a matter of habit. Lastly, remember that the key is to flip the coin immediately so that procrastination has no chance to take root.

Sayonara until next time.

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