Procrastinating isn’t a new phenomena, I think a lot of people forget that now. In the Middle Ages, do you honestly believe that young people woke up in the morning jazzed about ploughing the fields or assembling a janky shed?
Today we’ve got a wealth of distractions around us meaning that the itch to goof off from work can easily be sated with a quick glance over Facebook or a 30 minute round of Angry Birds (I need some new games on my phone).
I’m a firm believer in Occam’s razor: the reductionist principle that reasons that the simplest answer is most often correct. In this context, solving a chronic procrastination problem should be as easy as it is to indulge it. Especially when you distract yourself by doing all the little bits of work around the bigger piece of work you’re meant to be doing.
Writing for Motto, James Clear talks about the two minute rule that supposedly crushes procrastinating. His line of reasoning begins with the assertion that most of the tasks you often procrastinate around aren’t actually that challenging to you, that’s why you feel like you can avoid them with other objects/games/tasks.
The two minute rule is split down the middle into two parts. Part the first goes like this: If it takes less than two minutes, then do it now. Sending one email or emptying the dishwasher or taking out the rubbish – all of these things are considered ‘tasks’ but take literally a matter of seconds to do.
The second part asserts that when you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do. You can’t achieve all your goals in a few minutes but every goal can be started in two minutes of less. Once you start doing something, it’s easier to continue doing it. The first five minutes of a jog is harder than the following ten.
“The two minute rule isn’t about the results you achieve, but rather about the process of actually doing the work”. The secret to curbing your procrastinating habit is just starting something, even if you consider it the smallest thing in the world.