Monday, March 7, 2011

Mar 7: Try the Rule of Five

Okay, so I was supposed to work with my Dad today, but after a strange morning I ended up back at the house with the rest of the day before me and nothing that I had to do.  There were lots of things I wanted to do, but couldn't get up the initial enthusiasm for, like working in the yard, cleaning my room, meditating, etc.  (Why anyone should need enthusiasm to meditate is beyond me, but sometimes sitting still and doing nothing is harder than making yourself get up and doing something.)  Anyway, I remembered this old trick that I made up a long time ago when I'd gone through a similar phase of trying to do a few select things daily:  the Rule of Five.  The Rule of Five states that most often, if you can make yourself start something with the intention to do it for at least five minutes, it is easier to start and you will end up doing it much longer.  So this afternoon when I really wanted to take a nap I thought, "I'll work on the yard for 'five minutes'."  I ended up working for over an hour.  Then when I wanted to watch a movie I thought "First I'll meditate for 'five minutes'."  I ended up meditating for 45 minutes.  Most of the time, the hardest part is just getting started.  We are like cars that need a push-start, but then run great.  So next time you're facing some task you really don't feel like doing, just tell yourself, "I'll do it for five minutes.  Five minutes is nothing."  Sometimes you will only want to do it for five minutes.  But five minutes can add up over a week, a month, a year.  Most of the time, however, it will be just the start you need to get going, and then you won't want to stop.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”  - Mark Twain

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