I love weekends but those Monday morning battles can leave me feeling wiped out and wanting nothing more than a sofa, a cuppa and some trash tv. So how do we get ourselves up off that sofa and active? Let’s be honest, we don’t really relax as we tend to sit and worry about the stuff we should be doing so why are we not doing it?
I have read soooooo many books and articles on productivity but they all work from the assumption that you are off the sofa and ready to do. I needed something that started with me on the sofa, thinking about doing but then procrastinating.
I found it!
The 5 Second Rule
A fab book. The 5 Second rule by Mel Robbins.*
The premise of this book is that when we think about what we need to do, our brain has a 5 second pause before it starts thinking of reasons why we should put it off, not do it or why it is a silly idea.
So, as you think of something you need to do, you say out loud “5..4..3..2..1..Go” and just go and do it. The theory is that Go is an action word and it triggers the part of your brain that takes orders. It also fills up that 5 second pause before we think of reasons not to do something. In theory we have “got up and got going” before we have chance to think of a reason to postpone.
Now I will be honest, I first had this as an audiobook and sat listening as I was stuck in traffic with three children who had been asking “are we there yet?” for almost three hours. I laughed out loud at the idea of such a simple idea. However, my eldest son was sat listening (as his iPad was charging) and after explaining that the 5 second rule did not mean the food on floor 5 second rule, he was quite interested in what Mel Robbins had to say. He’s such a literal boy, he liked the concept of something so simple.
We decided to try it. So the next day when I mentioned getting dressed, he looked at me and said “5,4,3,2,1 Go” and off he went. No argument, no hassle. I would like to say this continued throughout the holiday but I would be lying but it has become a theme in the house – a bit like that “I’ll count to three” thing we’ve all done with our kids.
The following week I was sat in our garden looking at a stretch of
lawn weeds I have been saying I will dig over and make into a flower bed. I have been thinking about doing this for about a year. We have a load of bricks I can use to make a bed and buckets of shingle to use there too. I have the tools. I just didn’t have the motivation to get off my butt and do it.
The book suddenly came to mind as I looked at the patch and suddenly I said “5,4,3,2,1,Go” and I got up and I did it! Yes, it took a few hours and yes, every muscle hurt the next day but I did it.
So I decided to use it more. I looked at my glasses cupboard – the one which has a million glasses we never use including some old McDonald plastic cups from when Ice Age was launched and all those water bottles without matching tops – and said “5,4,3,2,1,Go” and now the glasses cupboard is totally decluttered.
I have even used it for blog purposes. I am really bad at having lots of ideas, even writing the ideas down, but not acting on them. I suppose part of it comes from worrying what others will think.
The book talks about this and recommends that this is a really good time to use the 5 Second Rule. When we know we’ve had self doubts about doing something because of what others may say, these are the tasks to really use the 5 Second Rule for.
So over the last few weeks I have been using it to get me off the sofa, away from just writing it down and actually doing it. It’s worked for me and I am quite shocked at that.
I challenge you to give it a go this week. Whenever you look at that pile of dishes, that dog hair covered carpet, that list of posts you want to write or think about that email you need to send, that call you need to make, just “5,4,3,2,1” it!
I’d love to hear if if works for you.