The Five Second Rule

By: Sylvia Luneau

The Five Second Rule? This rule isn’t how long food is still good off the ground! The Five Second Rule was created by Mel Robbins, a motivational speaker and author. The goal and purpose behind the five second rule is to take action and to stop procrastinating. Robbins suggests that procrastination occurs because we are stuck between a knowledge and action gap. To avoid procrastination Robbins advises to count backwards from 5, then physically get up and start doing whatever it is you are procrastinating about.   

What is the knowledge and action gap?

The knowledge and action gap is the recognition that you have an item or list of things to do, but for whatever reason you hesitate and decide not to do them. These items are varied for everyone and have many levels of complexity and importance. From work related items such as, starting a campaign or new work project, to getting important personal matters done such as: getting finances in order, researching medical plans, calling someone, or cleaning up. 

Why do we keep ourselves from doing the things we know we need to do?

Robbins believes that the golden moment is when we hesitate. That is the crux of the matter. The day-to-day scenario for all of us, is series of tasks that we accomplish with no hesitation.  However, when we take that moment to hesitate on a task, our mind can interpret this hesitating as potential danger. That the designated task is something we should potentially avoid.  The mind questions, why did you hesitate? What is the danger? In addition, to the mind questioning why you hesitated, the mind is also programmed to keep you from doing something that may hurt you. Maybe the task at hand could create discomfort or vulnerability which inhibits you from wanting to complete it.  However, although the task may cause slight discomfort, most tasks that we procrastinate will not hurt us. 

How do we Avoid Procrastination?

From the moment you have the idea of something you need to do or you receive an assignment that needs to get done, take action within five seconds. Count down from five and then start the action that was on your mind. Why? Robbins believes that within those five seconds you are most inclined to act. After five seconds, your brain will swoop in and find a reason for you to hesitate, which will lead to the action not getting completed. Therefore, in order to stop the procrastination, you must act within five seconds of the occurring thought.

Our lives are a series of decisions. The better you become at taking action and moving forward, the more likely you are to change your life and do those things that make your life better.  Less hesitation can change your world!

What do you want to change in your life? 

Change is hard and uncomfortable; however, the end result is often worth the struggle.  If you do not feel like changing something that you know you should change, Robbins says you also need to look inside yourself.  If the 5 second rule is not working for you, ask yourself what are you getting from staying the same?  Safety? The ability to complain about something? Change takes effort, however, starting the task is often the monumental moment. 

As we approach the halfway point of this year, consider this new method to boost productivity!

Looking to Learn More?

If you have not heard about Mel Robbins before, this guiding principle seems almost too simplistic.   I highly encourage you to look her up on YouTube and spend five to 15 minutes on a video as she is a wonderful speaker, and her narration of her principle really helps to cement how important this idea is. 

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