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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 August 21, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. Hello promotion, here I come!
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. No, thanks Alzheimer’s; you and I are just not a good fit.

So how to train your brain to learn faster and remember more?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new.

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.” Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

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But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

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Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

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I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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