I am not always productive.
I don't always act with discipline. There are moments when I feel like I want to be lazy and live in my bubble of comfort.
I too want to sleep more in this harsh winter weather. There are also moments when I don't want to get up in the morning, leave alone take a shower and start my day.
But I DO.
No matter what I am feeling. Not matter how is the resistance. I just do it.
Today the resistance was stronger. I was procrastinating to get off the bed, but I did it.
I was also procrastinating to write this article. But again I did it.
I told myself that we have to do it now or later. So why not now? I forced myself to get up.
I counted backwards from 5.
And 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. Bingo!
I got up from bed and went straight to my bathroom. I took a shower, drank water and did my morning meditation.
I drank a glass of milk with 4-5 biscuits and turned on my computer.
I was again feeling the resistance with writing this article. I again counter backwards from 5.
And 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. Let's get started!
And I started with this article.
5 Seconds Rule
Few years ago I learned this rule from Mel Robbins. It says that when you have to do something important but you don't feel like doing it - Force yourself to do it 5 seconds. 5 seconds window is crucial for this rule.
Studies have suggested that when you notice something and if you don't stop yourself in next 5 seconds, You will not be able to stop yourself.
Suppose you are scrolling Instagram and you notice that you should be studying. Just force yourself to close the app and start studying in next 5 seconds.
Else the time will just pass and you will regret it later.
The Next Productive Action
Another thing that I pair with 5 second rule is to always have a clarity on my next productive action.
So consider you took a break from your work and started watching Youtube videos in the break. After few minutes you noticed that you should be working on.
The moment when this thought comes to your mind - do the two things.
- Figure out the first action you need to take that will move you closer to the thing you should be doing.
- And take that action in next 5 seconds.
In my case where I have been watching Youtube videos and wanted to get back on my work.
- The first action is to close the application.
- Just close the Youtube application in next 5 seconds. Count 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. and TAKE ACTION.
I have years of experience in procrastination. I have been procrastinating on the things from the time I was born.
From procrastinating on my homework... to calling my parents... to sending email to our stakeholders... and a million other things in between.
But everytime I notice that I am procrastinating. I remind myself of this equation.
Next Productive Action + 5 Seconds Rule = Eliminate Procrastination.
We all procrastinate and it's natural. It's the way how our brain is built. You will never be able to remove procrastination from your life. BUT you can learn to fight it. You can learn to not give up to your procrastination.
So next time you become aware of your procrastination. Remind youself of the next productive action and the 5 seconds rule.