Suffering from procrastination? Try the five-second technique and get productive

Suffering from procrastination? Try the five-second technique and get productive
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We’ve all experienced procrastination at one time or another. Your mind often wanders at work, and even more so when working from home. Do you constantly postpone complicated tasks? If so, here is a simple and instant method to finally move forward effectively.

Procrastination is an evil that affects us all.

It has been accentuated with the introduction of teleworking during the pandemic with the many distractions all around us while we’re at home. As a result, some of us have become experts in the unfortunate tendency of systematically postponing everything until later.

Fortunately, there is a "magical" method to overcome this bad habit: the five-second technique pioneered by American author and speaker Mel Robbins. According to Robbins, in her bestseller which has sold more than 20 million copies, this approach requires taking action on a task within five seconds before our brain starts working against us and puts itself in "procrastination mode".

"If you want to achieve a goal, you have to move physically within five seconds or your brain will kill that project," she explains. "The moment you feel an instinct or desire to act on a goal or commitment, use the five-second rule."

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According to the author, everything should take place in this very short period of time. Once you've waited too long, your brain has been trapped by some kind of distraction and it becomes very difficult to turn back.

"When you feel hesitant before doing something that needs to be done, count in your head ‘5-4-3-2-1-GO’ and take action immediately. Hesitation is the kiss of death. You might hesitate for a nanosecond, but that's all it takes. This little hesitation triggers a mental system designed to stop you. And it happens in less than – you guessed it – five seconds."

Less stress and more self-confidence

We know how infuriating it can be to end your day with a list of unpleasant tasks that you have put off. Not only do we spend three times longer thinking about it than if we had done it right away, but then the task in question begins to take on enormous proportions.

Beyond the productive aspect of the five-second method, Mel Robbins also describes its psychological benefits. It does not only lead to a surge of self-confidence, coming directly from the feeling of a duty accomplished, but also the impression of taking back control of one's life, of being the actor.

Using this technique can also reduce stress and prevent us from ruminating on the smallest detail. Conversely, postponing everything until tomorrow tends to induce a sense of failure, frustration and disappointment.

Be careful, however, not to fall into the opposite excess, by constantly adopting a hyper-productive behaviour often induced by society and our professional entourage. Everyone has the right to a well-deserved break, and especially to get bored from time to time.

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