Having trouble even beginning a burdensome project? Try the old trick of setting a timer for 10 minutes. Work in a focused, perhaps even frantic manner for that short stretch, and watch what happens. “Anyone can do 10 measly minutes,” says Debbie Mandel, a stress-management specialist in New York City and the author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman’s 7-Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life ($23, amazon.com). “You may get engrossed and end up working even longer.” Once a sense of satisfaction replaces the dread you felt before, there’s a decent chance you’ll continue. Another trick to moving past that initial paralysis is to create what has been called an “implementation intention,” says Dr. Timothy A. Pychyl. Instead of simply identifying your goal, establish how and when you’ll actually accomplish it. For example: Saturday morning at 11, get the kids to figure out exactly which printer cartridge we need; go to Staples at noon.
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