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By Applying This Rule, You Can Overcome Procrastination In 2 Minutes

By Applying This Rule, You Can Overcome Procrastination In 2 Minutes

We all know those people (or we are one of them) who have many great talents and could do so much, only if they weren’t procrastinating their way through life. They postpone their tasks till the last minute and make themselves suffer enormous amounts of stress and anxiety in order to get things done on time. The worst thing about it is that once they waste all their energy fighting the temptation for instant gratification when completing mundane tasks, they leave no room for the really important stuff, such as their favorite hobby, or any activity that boosts their self-growth and creativity.

2-minute rule that triggers immediate actions

If you came to a point when you realized how seriously procrastination affects your life and health, you have probably came across the 2-minute rule solution in your search for remedy. The approach works because it is ridiculously easy and it can be applied to any task at hand no matter its size. It affects the root of the procrastinating process – the problem of starting the activity. The more time-consuming the activity is, the bigger resistance to starting it is created in the mind of the procrastinator.

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Relative to the size of the task or project, the rule can be applied in two ways:

  • The first one is to do the short and easy tasks right away to avoid cluttering your space and mind.
  • The second way is applied to bigger projects and things that require more time and effort.

Originating from Newton’s first law of motion that states that objects in rest stay at rest and objects in motion stay in motion, the 2-minute rule in this case means finishing the project 2 minutes at a time. This helps the person who is performing it not to feel overwhelmed and discouraged, but to start lightly, and soon the action will gain momentum leading to longer hours of productivity. As proposed by researches at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, the way to start any bigger project is to break it down into as many micro tasks as possible whose completion will lead to increase in motivation needed for further action.

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Why do we procrastinate?

  • Feeling of not being good enough – For many people the reason behind putting things off for as long as possible is the belief that they don’t possess the right skills and talents.
  • Overwhelmed by the size of the task – Another common reason for procrastination is the resistance felt by people when facing great, time-consuming projects.
  • The need for instant gratification – In most cases people tend to postpone their tasks due to lack of willingness to fight the human impulse to do only the most pleasing and undemanding things.

The 2-minute rule provides solution in all three cases as it helps to push through the initial doubt, since with 2 minutes in the activity our confidence levels start to grow and our need for gratification lessens as the process itself becomes gratifying enough. As previously mentioned, the rule is equally efficient in larger assignments as it helps to shift the focus from big end product to small bite-size two-minute steps.

How to apply the 2-minute rule

1. Start small

Let’s take the task of losing weight for example. For most people who struggle to lose those extra pounds this is one of the bigger projects. Therefore, instead of immediately rushing to face the great challenge, you should prepare the way by working on small, unrelated things. Doing everyday chores while they are still in the 2-minute-task category will help you to set foundation for the doer mindset. As the time goes, the momentum will take over, making it more natural and effortless and you will soon be able to transfer the approach to more complex issues.

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2. Raise the bar

Once you have developed a habit of doing little tasks, it is time to apply the same principle to a greater project. By taking the different perspective and dividing the strategy for weight loss into 2-minute actions that help to start the process, the entire task won’t seem so demanding. In addition, as you go through easily achievable bits, your motivation will grow, making you more eager to continue. In the beginning, these 2-minute actions would be anything from preparing the low-calorie meal to getting dressed and leaving the house for jogging. As you go along, you will feel much more willing to set further challenges.

3. Postpone reward

As opposed to seeking instant gratification and risk losing energy doing things that are not of the utmost importance in that moment, you should postpone it for after the completion. This way, you enhance your motivation as you have something to look forward to for later. Treating yourself to a movie after finishing Pilates class will improve not only your looks and health, it will also give you rest from guilt as the reward comes as something you earned.

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Ana Erkic

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Last Updated on October 17, 2018

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

1. Meditate

We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

2. Get plenty of sleep

If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

How much sleep should you be getting?

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Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

Yes, there are.

Try these three things:

  • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
  • Don’t eat too late
  • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

3. Challenge your brain

When was the last time you challenged your brain?

I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

  • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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4. Take more breaks

When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

However, I was wrong.

Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

Let me explain.

Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

What’s the answer?

Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

5. Learn a new skill

I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

Let me give you an example of this:

Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

6. Start working out

If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

“But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

Not a problem.

A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

Interested in getting started?

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Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

  • Join a gym
  • Join a sports team
  • Buy a bike
  • Take up hiking
  • Dance to your favorite music

7. Eat healthier foods

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

This applies to your brain too.

The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

  • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
  • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
  • Nuts – improves memory
  • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
  • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

Final thoughts

I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

Reference

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