5 simple steps to jumpstart your productivity
You would think that the majority of the time we would rationally and logically think through our choices before taking action.
But this is just not true.
According to Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, it’s our feelings that decide for us 95% of the time.
We feel before we think.
We feel before we act.
And that’s how we ultimately make decisions—based on how we feel.
The problems is: How we feel in the moment is almost never aligned with our goals and our dreams.
If we only act when we feel like it, we will never get what we want.
When we stop to consider how we feel about something, when we hesitate, we stop moving towards our goals and we talk ourselves out of it.
For example, we may want to lose weight, but we cannot seem to motivate ourselves to go to the gym.
At work, we may have an excellent idea to share but we are too afraid others will not see value in it so we don’t speak up in a meeting.
If we do not learn how to untangle our feelings from our actions, we will never unlock our true potential.
We must learn how to separate what we feel from the actions that we take.
Mel Robbins, the author of The 5 Second Rule, says that our feelings only need 5 seconds to make up our minds for us.
She states that when we have a decision to make,
we subconsciously tally all the pros and cons of our choices,
and make a gut call, based on how we feel, within 5 seconds.
Logically, we know what we should do, but our feelings about doing it make our decision for us.
This happens in a nanosecond. That’s why none of us catches it.
In her book, Robbins tells a story about how she was out of work and did not want to get out of bed in the morning.
So, she started counting backwards from 5 and by the time she reached 1 she would jump out of bed.
Using the 5 second rule, she created a chain reaction boosting her confidence and productivity.
The simplistic answer to how it works is that it takes more concentration for your brain to count backwards and having a concrete end to the countdown spurs action.
That focus interferes with the 5 seconds it takes for your brain to talk you out of doing something and instead replaces it with action. It mentally shifts the gears in your mind and assert control over your actions.
Start by counting backwards to yourself: 5-4-3-2-1. The counting will help you focus and the goal and distract you from the worries and fears. As soon as you reach 1, move, take action.
This method works for almost anything.
As I stand in my closet, knowing I need to put on my yoga pants and hustle out the door to class, I find myself counting down, grabbing my yoga pants and putting them on.
I love yoga. But lately (and by lately, I mean the last two months) I haven’t felt like going.
Logically, I know that I need to go for my mental and physical well-being, but there is this nagging voice telling me I can skip another day.
It’s my depression talking, and depression lies, so I have been issuing the 5 second rule to silence my feelings and get out the door to go to class.
This rule can also work in conversations with others. As a mom, my kids really know how to push my buttons. And lately I have been reacting with my emotions which gives them what they want- an emotional outburst from me.
So, I have started using the 5 second rule whenever they begin to push my buttons. When I start counting backwards my brain is given a chance to act rather than react to their behavior.
Over time, using the 5 second rule can help you create positive habits.
It is small moves over time that allow new habits to be encoded into our brain. It won’t happen overnight.
Change requires you to act deliberately, despite how you feel.
You can't control how you feel, but you can control how you act.
Using the 5 second rule, you can trick your brain to take action that moves you towards your goals.
Challenge for this week:
Force yourself into action by counting down from 5 in your head at least once a day this week.
Focus on how it spurs you into action. You can start with using it to get yourself up and out of bed without pushing the snooze button. Then try using it throughout the day. If you don’t feel like attacking the to-do list on your desk, count 5- 4- 3- 2- 1, and then take action.
I want to hear how this is working for you. Check back in with me and let me know if you started using the 5 second rule and if it has helped you take action in your daily life.