The Five Minute Trick: How to Stop Procrastinating and Reach Your Goals

Everyone has things they want to do. You know, the wish list that comes to you in the middle of making dinner, or between drafting emails at work – I want to speak Italian; I wish I could embroider cool things; I’d like to be a writer; I want to have toned arms…. On and on. 

But you’re busy, and there’s work and meal prep and school work and by the end of the day it’s just easier to put on Netflix and veg out. Or maybe you say, oh, I’ll do those things on the weekend. And then the weekend comes and there isn’t the mental energy to start a new hobby or work on something that we know might be good for us but doesn’t really rank in terms of priority. 

There’s hope though! You can solve this problem and break out of the cycle of procrastination with only five minutes a day of work. Five minutes! We all have five minutes at some point in the day, don’t we? 

I love the five minutes a day trick because it works for almost everything.  Here’s the trick:

Do the thing you want to do for five minutes. You must do five minutes a day. If you do more, great. If you fall off track and don’t do a day, don’t beat yourself up, just get back on track the next day.  Just do it. Five minutes.

No way can I do these things I want to do in five minutes – is what you could be thinking. And it’s true – some things you really won’t get better at doing just five minutes of it each day. But you will do it, and then some magic happens: Doing it for five minutes sometimes becomes seven, or ten or sixty, and all of a sudden you are getting better at that thing you’ve always wanted to do. Or, maybe you aren’t improving (cause we don’t need to do things just to be good at them) but we can see personal growth by engaging in the same activity daily. 

This can’t work for everything – is another thing you could be thinking. Cool, no problem. Let’s try it. 

I wanted to learn Spanish. In fact, I want to learn lots of languages, and I chose Spanish because it was close to French and because I’d like to go to Spain. Learning a language is a lot of work and I have other things to do and I get bored easily and on and on with the excuses. Until I said, No. Five minutes. 

So I tried different five minute methods – reading in Spanish. Learning new words. Trying different apps. And with all of these things I started by saying I would only do five minutes, right before I went to bed. I eventually found a method that worked for me. Some nights I would only do five minutes. Others I might do seven or ten. Am I going to become fluent with five minutes a day? Maybe. Not quickly! But I’m doing it. And some nights I think, hey I’ll just keep going, and do even more. Most importantly, I can’t say it isn’t happening. I can’t say I wish I could learn Spanish. It’s happening. 

What about other things? Embroidery? Five minutes a day quickly becomes 30! Dog training? Five minutes on YouTube and you’ve learned a new thing! Want to work on your TikTok skills? Five minutes, hammer it out. Baking? Exercise? Tech skills? Five minutes! 

What if I really don’t have five minutes? 

Sure, that’s fair. Sometimes the day just goes. How can we find five minutes when we feel like we don’t have it? 

Make it easy for yourself. Try to do your five minutes at the same time every day so it becomes a habit, not work. I decided that my evening routine is pretty set, so adding five minutes there was a regular addition I could keep up with. It might be first thing in the morning when you wake up – rather than scrolling mindlessly, do your five minutes. 

But I missed my five minutes and now I’m off track! 

Yup, that’s going to happen. At least one day a week I mess with my schedule and my five minutes disappear, despite all good intentions. The joy of the five minute trick is that you haven’t lost anything by missing that one day. Nothing bad has happened. You haven’t gotten out of shape, or lost all you’d learned. Your clarinet will still be there tomorrow even if you didn’t give it five minutes of attention today. Don’t sweat it. Just do it tomorrow and get back on track.

What have you been waiting to do and putting off? Try the five minute trick and let me know if it works for you!

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