How many times have you been faced with a task that feels insurmountable? Perhaps it has no end in sight or you don’t know where to start. Maybe even it’s just so darn unpleasant that you don’t even want to begin!
Life hacks for instances like this can help give you that little extra push to send you on your way into productivity and overcome your blockages. Enter the handy five-minute rule.
The idea behind the five-minute rule is this: whenever there’s something you need to do that you really don’t want to do, agree to just do it for five minutes – literally setting a timer if you want – and then you can quit with no guilt afterward. That’s it!
This rule is discussed in the book The Simple Dollar by Trent Hamm. Hamm’s book is aimed at helping people achieve their financial goals, with many handy tips and tricks such as this. “If I don’t [want to continue], I know I can quit with no guilt because I know I made just a little progress. It goes back on tomorrow’s to-do list,” explained Hamm.
Although, this great idea doesn’t have to be saved for when you’re sitting behind your work desk. Whether it’s cleaning the bathroom, practicing an instrument, learning a new language, folding laundry, deleting emails, doing a quick ab workout or going for a run, picking up trash outside, doing online research, making a necessary phone call, starting on that book you’ve always dreamed of writing – no matter the size or type of project, putting in five minutes will always make you feel better.
You’ll find that when you devote five minutes of your time and energy towards something, you’ll actually be able to get that task done—or at least, make progress on the task and invoke a sense of personal accomplishment.
In many cases even when the timer goes off, you’ll probably be into the swing of things by then and want to continue. Starting is always the hardest part, think about your quarterly report at work or your college essay, the thought of doing it is always so much worse than the actual thing.