This is the rule that most emotionally intelligent people embrace, that you should, too. 

Let’s say you have a ton of things to do before the close of the day: a project paper to write, a general meeting to attend, and a few articles to write. How do you do all that? Moreover, you just started watching a Netflix sitcom, huh? That awkward moment you need to get things done immediately but you just can stop procrastinating. We’ve all been there. Dear friends, can you spare yourself just five minutes? Yes, five minutes is all it takes to get it done.


Related media: How To Stop Procrastinating — The 5 Minute Rule


Five Minutes Later, You’ll Be Done

Why do you even procrastinate? Is it laziness, or mere ignorance? We think its the latter. Whenever you’re faced with difficult task to be done, you easily become overwhelmed. Most often than not, people seek solace in pleasant activities, the ones that temporarily makes us feel at ease for a while, but the task isn’t done.

Here’s the catch: the more solace you find, the more you’re going to avoid getting the task done; and the longer you avoid the task, the more anxious you’ll feel about what’s to happen next. “Will I fail the project?,” “will I be late again?,” or “what should I write about?,” you keep asking yourself. Well, you’ll be alright. But obviously, your tasks won’t go away, thus the more anxious you feel, and the more you’re at risk of not getting the tasks done.

Fortunately enough, there’s a way to help you turn the odds around and get things done. This is a strategy rooted in the principles of emotional intelligence — the ability to identify, understand, and deal with emotions effectively. Enter the five-minute rule. As simple as it might sound, its far more effective than you think.



How Do I Use Five Minutes?

Image: Shutterstock / iStock / Getty Images Plus

The five-minute rule is simply working on any task you have within five minutes. Yes, just five minutes. How on Earth will you write a project paper in just five minutes? Just do it. You’ll be done in no time, right? Yes, you will, and that’s all it takes to trick your mind into thinking that its not a big deal, after all. Aforementioned, your brain is just overwhelmed with the anticipation of not being able to complete the task at hand.

How long will it take and how hard it is, is what makes us avoid the task altogether. The catch? However challenging a task is, it isn’t completed all at once, rather its handled by doing it bit-by-bit, and you’re done. Now, its just five-minutes, and you can handle it. Focus on the task for only five minutes, with understanding that you can quit doing it after five minutes if you wish.

Here, you trick your mind you can get it done little by little, which feels easy, so you’ll now see the enormous task as simpler than you thought. Its just like telling your brain, “Five minutes is nothing. That’s far less time for binge watching Netflix than writing a paper. We can handle just five minutes.” But in the long run, you’ll work more than five minutes, eventually.



You Started Five Minutes Ago

Of course, you’ll be so absorbed by the task long before the five minutes are up, and you’ll keep going. Even if that’s not enough, the five-minute rule just took away the obstacle of just getting started, and if you ever feel sluggish again, try it again, and again, until you get it done. So, whenever you find that task a bit too much daunting to do, remember this five-minute hack, and don’t over complicate the task at hand. After all, five minutes is all you need.


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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Sat, Oct 09, 2021.

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