If it takes less than 5 minutes, do it now. I’m usually very good at following that simple piece of time management advice, but not in this case.
About two months ago my husband’s cell phone that he’s had for 6 years finally died so we went to the Sprint store to pick out a brand new one. After much deliberation, we decided on the HTC EVO. The price tag was a little hefty, but it came with a 100-dollar mail-in rebate (and the phone was just so cool!)
Now, let me say how much I hate mail-in rebates. Why would a company not just give me the 100 dollars off to begin with? Because they hope that I’ll forget to send it in and they can just keep their 100 dollars. That seems deceitful and mean so I usually don’t buy things with rebates, however… let me reiterate how cool this phone is.
When I got home, I should have filled out the rebate right then, but I didn’t. That was my pivotal mistake. Instead, I put it on the counter where it soon acquired other papers on top of it, which was later moved to the desk where it joined a sea of other papers and got lost. I just found the rebate yesterday and realized it expired. There goes 100 dollars!
The 5 Minute Rule
Why is such an easy rule so hard to follow? If something takes less than 5 minutes to do, it’s best to do it right away. There is no reason not to! However, these tiny little tasks are actually the easiest to put off. When something will only take us a few minutes, it is very easy to convince ourselves to just do it tomorrow. The problem is that when “tomorrow” gets here, we don’t feel any more motivated to do that little task than we did the day before. A small task that should have only taken 5 minutes ends up being forgotten or put off until infinite “tomorrows” and then inevitably comes back to bite us.
Here is my challenge to you today: find one 5-minute task you’ve been putting off and do it. Make that quick phone call! Respond to that email! Change that light bulb in the bathroom! Don’t put it off until another tomorrow. You’ll thank yourself later.
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