HACK: Beat Procrastination with just 5 Minutes

Get unstuck in with my five minute rule

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I’m going to tell you something that people who know me will be surprised to find out. I. HATE. PACKING. So I procrastinate like crazy until I’ve finally run out of time and absolutely have to pack. But I have a five minute hack for you that is absolutely fantastic!

Before I get to the hack, I just have to point out how ironic it is that I hate packing. I travel for work. When my job is going at full pace, you’ll find me out of town every week, for at least part of the week. Sometimes, I’ll be flying several times during a week.

And I hate packing.

I’ve figured out that packing to go on the trip is harder than packing to come home. I think it’s because when I’m packing to come home, I just have to figure out how to get all the stuff I packed on the way, back into the suitcase.

When I’m packing for the trip, I have to think and make decisions like:

  • Where am I going? What is the weather like?
  • What types of meetings do I have?
  • What shoes do I want to wear? (which typically dictates what clothes I will pack)
  • Will I workout while I’m out of town? Yes! How many times?
  • Will I carry-on or check my luggage? (which dictates which purse I take)
  • How long are the flights? What will I wear on the plane?
  • Do I need my passport?

There are so many small decisions to make when packing that I find it tiring. This is when the idea of having a ‘uniform’ for work really appeals to me. Lots of decisions = bad; fewer decisions = good. Imagine if you could just be like Steve Jobs and wear a black turtleneck to work every day – that would be ideal although most of us may not be able to afford the designer ones he preferred(?!). But the idea of eliminating a set of decisions every day appeals to me.

The 5 minute HACK

I came across this article recently about Kevin Systrom, the CEO of Instagram, and he said his best hack is to agree to do something for 5 minutes if you’re procrastinating!

And coincidentally, the best way I’ve found to get myself packing is telling myself it will only take 5 minutes. I even take this as far as asking my husband and kids to tell me it will only take 5 minutes. Because I can do anything for 5 minutes.

And even though I *know* it takes me longer than 5 minutes, the idea that I only have to spend 5 minutes doing this helps me to get started. And, once I get started, then I get it done.

I’ve also found that having a packing list makes it go faster. I don’t have to think as much when I’m packing. (Also, it prevents me from having weeks where I don’t pack enough underwear! Yes, this has happened, and I was lucky that I had packed some great yoga underwear I could wash and hang overnight so I still had clean undies!)

I’m sure there are plenty of other areas of my life I can apply the 5 minute HACK to. Do you have any hacks that work well for you?

Please post a comment below and let us know. We’d love to hear from you!

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