At one time or another we all do it. We have a task that we just don’t want to do so we keep putting it off. Whether we dread the task itself or the amount of time it will take, or we just feel like it will never get done so why start, we keep delaying and delaying.
Sometimes we can ge out of these kinds of tasks. We can delegate them to someone else, or we can evaluate if it even needs to get done at all. If not, we can eliminate the task from our to do list altogether.
Other times these tasks are unavoidable. They need to get done and we need to be the ones to do it. In these situations, the 5 minute procrastination trick can help you finally get the job done.
The 5 Minute Procrastination Trick
The idea behind this trick is to get yourself invested in the task before you decide to stick with it. So when you need to start a project or task that you have been procrastinating on, commit to doing it for just 5 minutes.
You can set your watch or put a timer on your phone, but promise to work on whatever it is for 5 minutes straight. Then at the end of 5 minutes you can decide whether or not to continue with the project.
The logic behind this is two fold. First, committing to just five minutes makes it an easy yes. Even when its something you really don’t want to do, 5 minutes is such a short period of time that it’s not hard to accept doing it for 5 minutes.
Second, once you have done 5 minutes worth of a task you can start to build momentum. You may have set up all the things you need to complete the project or started making a little headway on the task. At the end of 5 minutes, you may find that you feel more motivated to keep going as you have built a little momentum.
Once you have everything set up, you may rationalize that you might as well keep going since everything is all set. In this way, by only making a small time commitment that seems very doable, you are able to push through into completing the task.
If on the other hand at the end of 5 minutes you still have no desire to keep going, give yourself permission to stop. If you just can’t get into the right mindset or momentum, your results will just not be as going. It’s not worth it to force yourself to keep going.
Instead give yourself a break and try again later. You will know that you at least made the effort which is more than you can usually say about the tasks you procrastinate on.
Examples of Using This Trick
The following are a few examples of how you might utilize this trick.
Let’s say that last night you committed to working out in the morning, but when you wake up you just don’t feel like getting out of bed. Instead of just giving in and scrolling through your feed, commit to exercising for just 5 minutes.
You can jump on the elliptical for 5 minutes, do 5 minutes of a workout DVD, 5 minutes of Yoga, or 5 minutes of weights. Once the 5 minutes are up, you can decide whether or not you want to keep going.
More often than not 5 minutes in your endorphins will start flowing and you will be feeling good about working out. In the end whether you stop after 5 minutes or do a full workout, you will have started your day with movement which your body will thank you for.
Another example is wrapping Christmas presents. Some people love wrapping Christmas presents. Let’s assume you are not one of those people. When it’s time to start wrapping presents commit to 5 minutes.
You can start by gathering the paper and tape and scissors and tags and ribbon and bows. Depending on how organized you are this might take the whole 5 minutes or you might even be able to start wrapping.
Once your 5 minutes are up you will have all your supplies together which might just be enough motivation to get you to keep going and get those presents wrapped.
This trick can help at home and at work, for projects you commit to and just taking care of yourself. In just 5 minutes, you can build the momentum you need to get the job done and stop procrastination from holding you back.
What tasks have you been procrastinating on that this trick can help you with? Let me know in the comments.