I’ve struggled with procrastination for as long as I can remember.
I can openly admit to a very short attention span.
I am aware of it, which is important, because that allows me to develop systems to beat it and reclaim my productivity and accomplishment.
One way I do it is through what I call the Five Minute Rule.
What Is the Five Minute Rule?
The five minute rule states that if I commit myself to just five minutes a day on a certain task, amazing growth will happen.
You may be thinking five minutes doesn’t sound like much and won’t move the needle. On the surface, you could be right. But two very important things happen when I apply the five minute rule which nullify that concern.
First, I force myself to stay on track by committing to a time commitment that is so short it is never demotivating.
Then something amazing almost always happens.
It lasts way longer than five minutes.
A Body in Motion Stays in Motion
Momentum is a beautiful thing. Once you get going on a certain task or project, you will often find yourself naturally wanting to do more.
Sometimes, you might find you are simply able to do more and, since you’re already working on it, you might as well keep going.
In either case, your five minute commitment has turned into much, much more and you barely even noticed it.
For example, let’s say your five minutes is devoted to reading a book to expand your knowledge or skills. What happens if your five minutes are up while you are in the middle of a chapter? Chances are you will keep reading until you finish it. You can’t just stop in the middle, so you might as well finish what you started, right?
And if you get on a roll, who knows how long you might go. Five minutes easily turns into ten, twenty or whatever you are capable of handling that day, and your growth amplifies.
It’s all natural, which is never demotivating.
The fact that you have accomplished more as well has the even better impact of actually motivating you to keep it up.
Sometimes you even forget how hard it was to start in the first place, which gives you extra motivation to get back at it tomorrow.
Good for Anything
The five minute rule can be applied to virtually anything you want. You can use it on your exercise routine (the first few steps on a run are often the hardest), setting aside time for prayer or meditation, or writing a blog if you’re into such things.
Anything you are working on can benefit from the five minute rule.
And on those days where your body or mind tells you “no more today”?
You win then, too.
Not only do you get five minutes of growth and accomplishment into your life that day, but you also become more attuned to your body and mind, which results in further personal growth.
And since the time commitment is only five minutes, you won’t become demotivated for tomorrow.
I call that a win-win, and winning is all we do.
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