How I stopped worrying and learned to love small tasks
Alright, love is a strong word. Like, maybe. Ok, I’m cordial with small tasks at best.
But, as a master procrastinator, I’ve found that putting off little things like quick emails or, say, rinsing a dish in my apartment typically has one of 2 outcomes:
- It sits in the back of my mind, sucking minute amounts of focus from every task throughout my day.
- It leaves my mind immediately and completely, never to return until it’s far too late (and 3 months later I realize I never responded to that email… or washed that plate).
So, I’ve adopted the 5-minute rule
Any task that comes across my plate that takes 5 minutes or less to do, I do right then and there.
It’s contrary to the idea of time blocking, but I’ve found that once my workflow is disrupted with a minor ask, 90% of the damage is already done.
Knocking it out right away and clearing it off my plate allows me to refocus fully on my work, and amounts to little more time and effort than setting a reminder or trying to hang onto it in my head.
Mentally, it’s also a way to make unappealing tasks feel more doable (re: washing dishes). It’s simple, but effective.
— Lindsey, Managing Editor of The Hustle