“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out.” —Robert Collier
1. THE 5 MINUTE RULE
The 5 minute rule was brought to my attention during a Mastermind meeting by my friend Brad; the concept is simple. A lot of people have things they want to accomplish, be it cleaning the house, meditating, exercising or working on your passion project. The hardest part about any of those things is starting to work on them. Regardless of the activity there is a shared dread for the initial lift of the finger. The 5 minute rule asks you to start an activity for 5 minutes time, if that at the end of the 5 minutes you haven’t gained momentum or felt a spark, then stop, it wasn’t meant to be. Though I bet that 90% of the time you’ll continue working. I’m a visual person and require tools like this to be in my face rather than a concept in space so I have small post it notes in a few different areas in my home to remind me when i’m feeling lethargic and need to complete something that all I need is 5 minutes, not the 1 or 2 hours that my procrastinator brain fears. Come on, its just 5 minutes!
2. BREAK LARGE TASKS INTO SMALL PIECES
Whenever I have a task to complete, where possible I like to break it into small bite sized chunks. Doing this helps enable the 5 minute rule in that I don’t become overwhelmed with the size of an activity. It also gives me a visual into what I need to complete first and what chunks are dependant on others for completion. As an example, in the photo on the left my overarching task was ‘Name all plants’ which is a seemingly small stand alone task but I quickly identified that I needed to ensure the pots I had could be written on (i’m a good plant mom but there is no way i’d remember 27 names out the gate so i need to label them) so I determined I needed to paint the pots white and if I was painting the pots I would need to take the plant out to do so, so why not repot them and give them some new soil.
3. DETERMINE THE HIGHEST PRIORITY
It’s easy to get caught up in doing things that are beneficial but don’t necessarily drive forward your goal. It’s important to identify and focus on tasks that will move the needle. Prioritization can be based on time constraints, urgency, complexity and the value it provides to your vision. There are many different prioritization techniques and what one you use would be based on the nature of your objective and the tasks at hand. One I tend to use is the $100 method or cumulative voting. This method is especially powerful when there are multiple people involved in the decision making or prioritization process. First identify the items or tasks to be prioritized, then give each person involved one hundred fake dollars that they have to distribute across the items requiring prioritization. After all of the money is spent, total the how much each item or task is worth, whatever has the highest dollar value is the top priority. Maximize your return on investment of the time you are putting in by working on things that matter most.