How to do that thing you don't want to do.


You know what I absolutely hate doing?


As I've gotten older and crotchier, my tolerance for clutter and dirtiness has decreased. My standards for how my home should look have gone up - unfortunately for my boyfriend. And that means I need to spend more of my precious free time doing the thing I hate most. Yes, you guessed it. Chores. 

Once I get started, I usually get into it and time flies by and before I know place is clean, the dishes are done, and I end up feeling a sense if accomplishment and relief.

But the part where I get stuck is starting.

This isn't unique to cleaning. I have a hard time starting a myriad of different things - going grocery shopping, going to the gym, reading books/studying, even writing on this website (are you surprised? Probably not!) It's not that I don't enjoy doing these things, I just find starting daunting. I compare starting to moving a large rock. Initially, moving the rock is incredibly hard and takes a lot of strength...but once it starts rolling, the momentum keeps it going and rolling it gets easier and easier.

So the key is starting.

But recently I've found a way to get started doing all those things that I don't want to. And it's actually a fairly simple tactic.

I like to call it, "The Rule of 5 Minutes."

For anything that I know I need to do, or should do, or would like to do but just can't start, I tell myself I only need to do it for 5 minutes. And if I don't want to do it after that, I don't have to do it anymore.

That's it. Pretty simple.

So, why does this work?

Because, 99% of the time, I'll keep going after those 5 minutes. I'll put on a podcast and get caught up in it while washing the dishes. I'll start writing and get sucked into what I'm writing about. The book I start reading will get interesting. I'll break a sweat at the gym and start feeling like a badass. 

The 1% of the time I don't want to continue, I don't. Obviously I'm not into it and I'll have to come back to it later.

5 minutes is such a short amount of time....I spend longer than that deciding what the hell I'm going to wear in the morning. It makes it impossible to procrastinate on 5 minutes. It's just 5 minutes! It takes away that existential dread of all the steps involved in doing that thing you've been procrastinating about. You don't have to think about the logistics. It's only 5 minutes. Who makes an intricate plan for 5 minutes? Not me. Probably not you.

So, try it. The only thing you have to lose is 5 minutes.

And let's face it, twenty minutes ago you spent 5 minutes surfing through your exes-boyfriends-sisters photos on Instagram.