July 9

How to Stop Procrastination in its Tracks with “The 5 Second Rule”

Does the number of tasks on your to do list grow daily? If the answer is yes, you suffer from stress because you're under pressure to get things done. The more jobs on your list, the greater your stress. You can get rid of your procrastination habit and feel better fast by launching yourself into tasks. Here's how to use Mel Robbins's rule and beat procrastination for good.

Up, up and away

Author Mel Robbins went through a long spell of depression. She faced many difficulties that made her life tough. As a result, she laid in bed, morning after morning, with no enthusiasm to rise. Part of her wanted to greet the day bright and early, but she couldn't summon the energy and enthusiasm to get out of bed.

A flash of inspiration crossed her mind, though, one evening when she watched a rocket launch on her TV screen. Mel listened to the countdown and saw the rocket launch into the sky. It occurred to her she might do the same when it was time to rise in the morning.

From that day forward launching herself into any task became easier. The countdown method meant her mind no longer had time to provide excuses about why she shouldn't, or didn't want to, carry out jobs. She went on to write "The 5 Second Rule" in which she suggests anyone can use the same technique she uses to throw themselves into tasks.

It’s one of my favourite books and many a time it has helped to get out of my own way.

The technique is simple: When you face a task or a decision, countdown from 5 to 1 and then get to it.

Sounds too easy, right?! That’s the beauty of it. It is easy. And if practiced often enough, it’s life changing.

Don't wait for the right time

Robbins advocates ditching the idea of waiting for the right time to do what you need to do. Throw out the notion the perfect day exists and set your mind to act.

Plenty of people imagine the perfect moment to follow their dreams will magically appear and on that day they will begin. For many, though, the right time never comes.

In that 5 seconds, your mind will start to make excuses about why you can’t do that task right now. The countdown is your circuit breaker: while you’re busy counting down, you’re stopping your brain from forming those excuses.

YOU are in charge

There are many situations in life that we cannot control. You can, however, take the reins and manage your own behaviour. We sometimes fail to act because life is hard. We feel disempowered as we can't control other people, the weather, the government…

You can, Robbins proposes, choose what to do even if you face trials. Taking charge gives you back your power and promotes confidence in your abilities.

Robbins’s rule gives you strength

"The 5 Second Rule" will stop the distance between you and your goals from expanding. Once you start a task, you benefit from taking a step in the right direction. Suddenly, you are closer to accomplishment than you were yesterday, and the job seems a little less daunting.

Applying the rule will also stop you worrying. Before you begin tasks, you are under pressure. Stress builds and you can't get your to do list out of your mind. When you begin a job, anxiety lessens, and you feel more vital. Your energy increases to help you complete chores and wipe them off your list.

If you keep putting tasks off, and feel stressed as a result, borrow Robbins's useful method. Don't let procrastination get the better of you. Kick it to the curb and launch yourself into tasks that seem overwhelming and watch stress, plus your list of chores, diminish.

Reference: "The 5 Second Rule" by Mel Robbins.

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