Look at your to-do list. Have you been staring at the same tiny tasks, day after day, putting them off until the infamous “later?” What if I told you those tasks are actually wasting your time? The time spent worrying about, making excuses for, and dealing with the consequences of a tiny unfinished task greatly outweigh the time it would take to actually finish it. This is why I’m a huge advocate of The 5-Minute Rule:
If it takes less than 5 minutes, do it now
Not later, not tomorrow, now.
You can give it a try today. Pick a tiny “Vegetable” task from your list you’ve been putting off, and ask yourself these three questions:
1. Will this be any easier to do tomorrow?
2. Is there any reason I can’t do this right now?
3. Will this take more than 5 minutes of my time?
If the answer to all three questions is “no,” then go finish that task right now. In fact, when you’re finished, email me (Emily@TheTimeDiet.org) and let me know what you did! I would love to know what this blog inspired people to do.
My “Battery” of Excuses
I’ll share my example of The 5-Minute Rule from this week. The battery in my garage door clicker died a week ago. When I come home, I pull into the driveway, get out of the car, open the garage manually, get back in the car, and drive in. A huge problem in the grand scheme of life? No. But every time I did it, I was annoyed. I was annoyed that I haven’t taken 5 seconds to get a replacement battery out of the drawer and change it, but by the time I get inside, I’m distracted with a million other things to do and the thought of going back out into the garage seems simply absurd.
My excuses were fabulous: “I’m sure those batteries are lost by now,” “It’s always so difficult to get the back of the clicker open,” “ I already took my shoes off and I don’t want to step on a scorpion in the garage” (a real consideration in Arizona!) Finally, I said, enough! I write a time management blog and this behavior is simply unacceptable. I started the stop watch on my phone and went to change the battery. When all was said and done, 2 minutes and 30 seconds had elapsed. 150 seconds. Why in the world hadn’t I done that sooner?
What will you accomplish using The 5-Minute Rule? Drop me a line and let me know!
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