Procrastination: How the 5-second rule helps against procrastination

5 second rule
With this method, you’ll never put things off again

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Postponing things and burdening you unnecessarily long is your specialty? Then the 5 second rule could make your life a lot better.

No desire to tidy up, not enough courage to ask your manager for a conversation and no brilliant idea what to write to your girlfriend after you haven’t been in contact for so long and suddenly you long for her again. So you leave it. Until one day the disorder in your apartment, the dissatisfaction in your job and the longing for your old friend torment you so much that there is no other way and you have to do something. Unfortunately, it’s often twice as difficult and you’ve wasted time.

So it is with procrastination or procrastination. It keeps us from following our impulses and getting things done right away, only to torment us and make life difficult. Fortunately, we don’t have to put up with that: with the 5-second rule, we can work off procrastination – or at least give it a try.

How does the 5 second rule work?

The 5-second rule was developed by the American author and motivational speaker Mel Robbins (“5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 … Go! The 5-second rule”) and it works very easily: If we feel an impulse to do something, we count backwards from 5 and start after 1. For example: “I would have to tidy up my table, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – let’s go!“. Or “I would like to write to my old school friend. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – dear Isette, I hope you are fine! I think of you and I would be happy to call you again. How about wednesday night Love from!“. Complete. No long deliberation and certainly not lugging things around with you. Just count backwards and do it.

Inspired by a rocket

Mel Robbins swears by this method after trying it herself and changing her life with it. “When I was 41, my life was in ruins,” she writes on hers Website. Unemployed, marital problems, self-confidence in the basement. “I wanted to change, but couldn’t bring myself to change.” One of the things that kept them away: “There was always an excuse.

A TV advertisement with a rocket gave her the idea of ​​the countdown. “I thought what if, instead of thinking about it, I just get up when the alarm goes off, like a rocket just takes off when it takes off?” 5-4-3-2-1 closed the gap between thinking and doing with hershe continues. The more things she tackled and done, the stronger her self-confidence became.

Can this really work?

From a psychological or neurological point of view, Mel Robbin’s method makes perfect sense: Firstly, counting distracts us from hesitating and looking for reasons not to follow an impulse (if you are particularly intelligent, you may count on Swahili as a precaution …). Second, the countdown prepares us for something to happen soon. And thirdly, it is easier for us to react to a specific signal (“1”) than to a vague resolution (“I would like to …”, “I should …”). Thus, with the 5-second rule, we ultimately outsmart ourselves, more precisely the side of us that slows us down and lets us struggle.

Still sounds too easy to work? Well then it’s definitely way too easy not to try it at least once.


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