Another Work Tip: “Just Five”

Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed, I tell myself, “Just Five.” In order to feel successful in a task before me, I say things like this: I will grade just five papers. I will tidy this room for just five minutes. I will write just five sentences. I will walk outside for just five minutes. I will plan meals for the week for just five minutes.

I think anyone can handle five minutes. At least that’s the amount that doesn’t overwhelm me. Seven would. Ten would. But five? I can do five of anything. The benefit of this “Just Five” campaign for myself is that I always do more. I’ll probably grade up to twelve projects this morning once I get going. I’ll end up cleaning the entire room. I’ll write a whole chapter. I’ll walk for an hour. I’ll finishing meal-planning. You start with just five, and then you keep going if you wish. I’ve learned that once I get going, I keep going. But you don’t have to. You don’t have to at all. That’s the power of Just Five. You allow yourself to feel like a success if you accomplish that little thing.

Sometimes Just Five leads to bigger things. Sometimes it doesn’t. The important thing? You did something hard. You overcame the inertia, the procrastination, the pain of it. And you did it. For Just Five, you did it.

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