Cure Procrastination and Improve Mental Health with This One Rule
I stumbled upon a Youtube video uploaded by a beauty guru turned miscellaneous vlogger on how to solve procrastination. Seeing as how I was finding any possible way to avoid working on my project for market research design, I went ahead and clicked the video.
I was expecting a phenomenally edited video juxtaposed with flimsy suggestions on how to improve concentration such as eating an apple before studying or taking a 5 minute power nap to “recharge”.
But I was pleasantly surprised by the insight provided in this aesthetically pleasing youtube video.
Youtuber Shelby Church explained that while she was procrastinating the riveting chore of cleaning out the drawer in her nightstand, she stumbled upon an article where Instagram Founder Kevin Systrom - who ironically is the creator of one of the social media outlets that satisfy our procrastinating habits- reveals how he perseveres through procrastination.
The 5 Minute Rule
Do the thing for five minutes.
Systrom suggests if you have an essay you need to start, a vanity you need to clean, or a website you need to update, take on the challenge for five minutes.
Set a timer on your phone and work on the task while your pasta for lunch is boiling… or your Lean Cuisine is heating in the microwave. Just force yourself to push through for five minutes.
Procrastination is a natural human habit, and it doesn’t affect just the “lazy” people.
It affects everyone.
I’ve found the main reason why I tend to procrastinate is not out of laziness but out of fear.
For some reason, in my head, I thought by simply not attempting the project, not studying ahead of time, not starting my website then I can’t fail. If I never tried, then I can’t be accountable if the project doesn’t take off, if it doesn’t exceed or at least meet my expectations.
I remember when I was a freshman in college and how I struggled to study for finals in advance. Why? I thought if I don’t study until the last minute and make a bad grade, I can blame my procrastination instead of my intellect.
It’s my way of throwing the blame on something else other than something I was insecure about at the time.
“Oh I’m smart, if I just studied ahead of time I could have made a 95 instead of an 80.”
This is pure baloney.
In order to improve your grades, work performance, or personal endeavors, you need to become comfortable pushing your potential to the fullest, and this means taking 5 minutes to jump over the hurdle.
You will find it is much easier to continue working than to start working. Thanks to the five minute rule though, you already got through the hard part.
5 Minutes To Improve Mental Health
Although Shelby nor Systrom mention this I have found the five minute rule not only the magic spell to cure procrastination but also to improve my over all well being.
Have you ever had something agitating happen to you one day and you just keep thinking about it constantly? You tell yourself you’ll get over it but you find it to be
And rather than being over it, you’re over analyzing every detail that occurred to make you feel the way you do. It’s ruining your whole day.
Set a timer for five minutes and tell yourself, “I cannot think of this thing for five minutes.”
After not thinking of the situation or person that is bothering you for a short period of time, you begin to realize you don’t really want to spend your brainpower on this anymore. It’s not making you happy, it’s not contributing to your day, and it’s not worth it.
This same strategy can be used when you feel like self deprecating yourself after a bad exam, an argument with a coworker, or a fight with your significant other.
You may be thinking you are dumb, you are disliked by others, or you’re unsuccessful. And once again you tell yourself, you’ll get over it but it’s hours after the incident later….and… you’re certainly not over it.
Grab your phone, set the time, and force yourself to push those thoughts away. And after five minutes of serenity —just like you don’t want to waste your energy focusing on a bad situation— you will not want to continue wasting your precious neurons belittling yourself.
Because it doesn’t make you happy, it doesn’t contribute to your day, and it’s not worth it.
The five minute rule is so simplistic, you may think it’s too obvious or too easy to actually work.
But if you put your heart into the rule, you can finish that assignment weeks before the due date. You can start your own business. You can thrive through a bad day.
Let’s get productive and positive.
Shelby Church’s video here