The 2 Minute Rule
“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” – Benjamin Franklin
Hey everyone, today I want to talk to you about procrastination. At the end of the write up, I will be sharing with you one of the simplest practices that I chose to adopt to overcome my procrastination. And believe it or not, it only takes 2 minutes.
First off, What is procrastination really?
It is the behaviour of putting off actions or tasks to do a later time. Doing something else to avoid what we really should be doing.
Procrastination is potentially one of the main barriers that block us from getting up and making the right choices to live that life we've always dreamed of.
Most of us regret the things we haven't done opposed to things we have. Feelings of regret and guilt from missed opportunities tend to stay with us for a very long time. Sometimes, forever. When we procrastinate, we waste time that we could be investing into something meaningful.
Have you ever put off a project for so long, and the Saturday before its due on that following Monday, your best friends call you up to go on a trip somewhere for a couple days? Maybe camping? Maybe a trip to the big city? But you are unable to join. Because you procrastinated on this crucially important project for so long, the rest of your weekend is taken up completely to ensure you finish it.
I mean, you COULD go with them, but this project is detrimental to your future.
So you end up missing out on a good time. Afterwards, You see the pictures and the videos. You hear the stories. And all you can think about is, “damn, i wish I could have gone with.”
I have! Me! This guy right here. Many times in fact. I will be the first to admit that procrastination was a big struggle of mine.
However, I want to note that not all aspects of procrastination are all bad. We can actually use it to learn a lot about ourselves.
Have you Ever noticed that we tend to procrastinate with certain things more than others?
I want to recommend the practice of being mindful the next time you are procrastinating.
Explore the reason behind it.
Is it something you don't want to do because someone asked you to do it?
Is it something you don't find of value to your time?
Is the workload so big that it's intimidating?
Or simply, is there something else you would just prefer to be doing?
One big thing I learnt about myself in procrastination, is that I tend to procrastinate on things that hold a high standard of importance in my life at that time. I would fill my time with everything else to create “busy work,” to give myself a false sense of accomplishment. “At least I was doing something,” I would tell myself.
At first glance, hearing that habit sounds really toxic, right? This is where I want to express that potential positive out of procrastination.
Once I began to explore the feeling attached to my procrastination I was able to get to the bottom of what was really going on. I had subconsciously developed this tendency because I work well under pressure. I’m not saying that I enjoy being under pressure. It's uncomfortable. But it's where truth growth and character strengths are flexed. I looked at my past experiences and realized that I produced my best work while under pressure. Whether it was a deadline at work, or a project in school. This pressure seemed to stir a different aspect of the creative part in my brain.
Now here’s the flip side to that. My brain started to register and categorize absolutely every task I had on my “to-do” list of similar or equal importance.
What I mean is, in my mind, doing the dishes was just as important as fixing my deck. Taking out the garbage was the same as fixing my motorbike. Getting that report finished and submitted at work was the same as setting aside time to practice guitar. All of these things are important. But you can clearly see what should have been held to a higher importance.
This led me to prioritizing issues. I would have a list full of “to-do’s,” but would feel stress when I looked at it. Unsure of where to begin and what to do. I did what most of us tend to do. The complete opposite of whatever was on my list.
I was well aware that this was a very bad habit I had to get a grasp on. It was keeping me from experiencing even the smallest of pleasures. I was always stressing about how long my to do list always was. That stress was robbing me of the simplest of enjoyments such as taking my dog for a walk through the trails behind my house.
When it finally clicked that something had to give. I had to make a change.....
***As promised, here is my “2 minute rule.”***
This is when I started taking control of the things in my life I had the power over. And for those of us with anxiety, this was a life saver.
If I looked at something that needed to be done, and it could be done in 2 minutes or less. I stopped whatever I was doing and did it in that moment.
For example, if I just finished my dinner but the dishwasher is full, instead of putting the dish in the sink for later, I would just wash it now.
If I pulled a load of clothes out of the laundry, I would just fold and put them away.
If I had important paperwork to file, instead of throwing it on my desk, I'd file it right then and there.
Slowly but surely, my to do lists became smaller and smaller because I was consistently getting all these little things done in the “now,” not the later. I began to extend the practice from 2 minutes all the way to 5 minutes. That opened a whole new door of possibilities. It is amazing what you can actually get done in 5 minutes of just doing whatever was needed to be done.
Eventually , I was able to train my brain to decipher the difference of importance between each task I had to do. My stress went WAY down, and I ended up ACTUALLY having more available time to do the things I wanted to do. Even though I was getting more things done. I could focus on the “big things” because I didn't have a huge list of little things keeping me distracted.
Quite literally, I was no longer too stressed to stop and smell the flowers.
I encourage you to try this. Give it a month. Keep track of the things you get done and how long it took to finish them. It will make each of your precious moments on this earth so much more impactful. While freeing up more time to do the things you love.