Use the ‘Five More Rule’ When You’re Feeling Stuck
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the things. All the people you have to get back to (usually with the sad starter-line “Sorry for the delayed response …”). All the words you’re supposed to write. All the minutes you promised you’d run on the treadmill, all the meals you said you’d prep, all the closet clutter you’ve been meaning to get rid of for months.
Maybe you’ve started a task but have gotten stuck, paralysed by the magnitude of the hill that’s in front of you. Instead of giving up, tell yourself this: Just five more. In a piece on the lost art of concentration, The Guardian explains the “five more rule.”
This is a simple way of learning to concentrate better. It goes like this: whenever you feel like quitting—just do five more—five more minutes, five more exercises, five more pages—which will extend your focus. The rule pushes you just beyond the point of frustration and helps build mental concentration. It’s a form of training as well as being a way of getting something accomplished.
I’ve been doing my own form of this. I call it “five to thrive”—cheesy name, but it sticks. The number five somehow feels manageable. Don’t feel like exercising? Do five downward facing dogs. Can’t bring yourself to clean out the whole fridge? Clear out five items. Taunted by that giant unopened novel that’s been sitting on your nightstand? Read just five pages. You’re giving yourself a jump-start—and once you get going, you likely won’t stop. (But don’t tell yourself that. It’s just five. Easy, right?)