My Five-Minute Rule

So several months ago, I made a rule for myself:

If I see something that needs to get done & it can be completed within 5 minutes, I’ll do it immediately. 

It doesn’t sound Earth-shattering or full of wisdom. But this metarule has saved me time & energy. The catch is it means I have to reprioritize. I have to be “a grown up” & say “no” when I want to say “yes” (or vice versa). Simple tasks get done so that my day isn’t left with loose or frayed ends.

Sometimes the item that needs to get done sucks. Let’s be honest – we all have different tasks we dread doing, whether it’s at home, at work, or within our social lives. I’m learning a quick conversation regarding a topic I’m overthinking defuses any miscommunication before it has time to fester in my mind. For example, even though I hate asking the boss if I had upset her with a project, hearing her direct opinion or criticism is more productive and useful for me now versus mulling it over & stressing myself out. I would much rather have her steer me in the right direction immediately instead of letting me drift off at sea & later have to majorly course-correct.

Sometimes the task I’m dreading is an email or a phone call. Sometimes, it’s cleaning up spilled juice (yet again). By tackling these issues head on, I’m proving to myself that I am responsible as well as mature. I’m showing others & my possessions that I value them & I’m thankful for their presence in my life. We should take care of what’s important to us, right?

I’m not saying it’s easy because, in my experience, it rarely is. However, the payoff is better than what I could imagine. I’ve gained insight & respect for myself & for others just by applying my little metarule.

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