We all sometimes can’t bring ourselves to get down to business. Kevin Systrom, head of Instagram, also faces this problem. For such situations, he developed the five-minute rule.
If you don’t feel like doing something, promise yourself to do it for only five minutes. Most likely, after these five minutes you will have done everything to the end.
Why it works
“Procrastination is usually triggered by fear of conflict,” says Christine Li, a clinical psychologist who specializes in procrastination. Even when we want to get things done, the fear of failure, criticism, or stress forces us to fight with ourselves. We don’t want our fears to come true. “This conflict makes it seem impossible to get started,” Lee continues. “That explains why we sometimes procrastinate, even when it’s pointless.”
The five-minute rule frees us up. It seems that you can plunge into the project for a short while and emerge back at any moment.
You still have the right to reconsider your decision in five minutes. It gives a sense of control over the situation. It seems that you decide on your own, rather than experiencing pressure from the outside.
Julia Moeller, Learning Psychologist at Yale University
Another rule of five minutes reduces the cost of activities. For example, emotional (fear, anxiety), alternative (what you miss doing this business), energy (how tedious it is). The motivation for doing business increases when costs decrease.
Why do we continue to work after the first minutes?
Our ideas about how frustrating a task is are often wrong. When we start a business, we usually treat it more positively than we expected.
For example, the researchers compared Do Girls Really Experience More Anxiety in Mathematics? Expectations and actual performance of students. The female students felt that they were worse at math than their male classmates.
But gender differences disappeared when the researchers assessed all students’ abilities and anxiety on a math test. The students’ views were not confirmed. Their feelings during the test did not meet negative expectations.
The point is not only that the task is not so unpleasant. Once we start working, we often find ourselves in a flow state. In it, we completely immerse ourselves in business and forget about everything around us. Time flies by.
But more often than not, we plunge into it when we are engaged in complex matters. For example, pushing yourself to do as much as possible in just five minutes. But even such routine tasks as washing dishes or checking spelling in the text can be immersed in the flow.
The five-minute rule gives us the feeling that we are in control of our work.
After five minutes, the big project is still big. But once you’ve passed the first threshold – an unwillingness to start – it stops feeling overwhelming.
Adapted and translated by Wiki Avenue Staff
Sources: Life hacker