Procrastination sucks. We spend our whole weekends worrying over something that would take us minutes to do, then stay up late Sunday night ruining the start of our next week.
It’s like a stress snowball and aimed directly at our nervous system. Luckily, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom’s trick to beating procrastination is a ray of sunshine on the tundra of dreaded tasks.
Instead of holding himself accountable for the whole thing, he makes a deal with himself to do just 5 minutes of it.
You can stand anything for 5 minutes, right?
By breaking up tasks into easy, knowable “costs,” we’re able to lower the mental barrier to an activity, reducing perceived fear of not being able to finish or logistical conflicts.
Starting is usually the hardest part — once we get rolling on a task, we find ourselves in a “flow” state where we’re fully immersed, and in no time the dog’s washed and our socks are cataloged (that’s a thing people do, right?).
You’ve seen it action. It’s how Geico’s gotten millions of people to sign up for something as boring as car insurance by promising to take only 15 minutes of their time.
And if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us. Yessiree, we’re officially going to check “stop procrastinating” off the to do list…