We’ve all been there. Your to-do list is a mile long, yet you can’t find the motivation to start even the easiest project on the list.
Instead, you flip through magazines, tidy up the living room—you’ll do everything but the stuff you really, really need to get done.
Ahhh, procrastination. Hello, old friend.
If you’re trying to be more productive, whether that’s at home, work or school, here’s a simple trick to get yourself out of that procrastination funk.
It’s called the 10-minute rule and it could seriously change how you function. After all, time is money, so don’t waste another second procrastinating.
First, let’s talk about the science behind procrastination. Research tells us that different parts of our brain are constantly duking it out. The part of your brain that’s responsible for making decisions is in conflict with the part of your brain that wants you to feel good.
We procrastinate because we don’t want to complete seemingly unpleasant tasks—we do something else that makes us feel good, such as mindlessly scrolling Facebook, instead.
Getting started is the hardest part, so Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and the author of “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do,” suggests using the 10-minute rule to get yourself started on a task.
“Simply tell yourself, ‘I’m going to do this for 10 minutes. Once I get to the 10-minute mark, I’ll decide whether to keep going.’ Nine times out of ten, you’ll decide to keep going long past the 10 minutes,” Morin wrote for Inc.com.
This trick works because it’s super simple and because it gives your brain an easy, bite-sized chunk of time to think about. It’s only 10 minutes.
It also helps you push past exaggerated thoughts about how awful a particular task is going to be, Morin writes.
The next time you find yourself putting off a boring task, remember this tip and tell yourself you’ll do it for 10 minutes. Chances are, you’ll keep at it longer than that and you’ll be able to check something off your list.