The 5 Second Rule

When was the last time you procrastinated? What were you putting off? Why were you putting it off?

Procrastination is a habit. We fall into it, and then struggle to get out. We play mind games with ourselves, and the worst part is that we know we can and should break through but nothing seems to help.

Ask yourself, why do you procrastinate? Many would answer that it’s a result of being lazy, or having a poor work ethic, or even incompetence. However, Mel Robbins suggests that it is actually a behaviour meant to help us cope with stress. Whatever task we’re putting off is linked to something that is stressing us. Naturally, we want to avoid stress, so we instead seek a distraction, and momentarily, we feel good avoiding the stress.

How do we unlearn our current non serving behaviours?

Here’s an analogy. You’re sitting on the sand on a beach watching the waves crash, when suddenly you notice a child in the water who is drowning. There’s no one around and no lifeguards in sight. What you do know is that you don’t have much time to act. What do you do? It’s obvious, right?

This sort of impulse-driven decision making has been researched by neuroscientists for many years. Our emotional decision making (dictated by the prefrontal cortex) is just as important as our more rational and analytical decision making, but you need to activate your prefrontal cortex to get out of the procrastination cycle. However, guess what happens to your prefrontal cortex when you’re stressed? It shuts down!

By the time your rational brain finally kicks in and makes some effort to get the work done, sometimes it’s too little too late. The key here is to activate the rational brain before you start to procrastinate.

“If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea.” Mel Robbins.

Need to do some housework? Wake up early like you use to? Do a home workout? Follow the 5 second rule:

1. When you feel yourself procrastinating before doing something you know you should do, count DOWN IMMEDIATELY
2. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO and move towards the action
3. If you don’t take action within this window you won’t change
4. This window works due to overriding the thoughts of distraction, worry or excuses
5. Voila you’ve DONE IT

Well done! We’d highly recommend listening to the @melrobbins audio book “The 5 Second Rule” on @audible to crush your current situation. You’re five seconds away from doing it!