Living

The power of five – A simple mind trick to get you started.

Some days even the simplest tasks seem impossible. Our to-do lists are spiraling out of control and we just don’t know where to start. The feeling of overwhelm begins to engulf us and we feel a rising sense of panic. There is just too much to do and not enough time to get it done.

Baby steps, or the art of breaking activities down into smaller, more manageable chunks is a brilliant way to simplify even the most daunting of jobs. But even this baby stepping lark can feel too complicated sometimes. And what about those times when the demon deed that torments you is so straightforward, but you’re lacking the will to get stuck in.

Let’s take one of those little gems, the washing up. An everyday routine that surely shouldn’t be an issue, anyone could do it. In our house there are six of us and there are days, many days, when the sink is full and there’s no space left on the drainer, the worktop, the hob, anywhere. Like a mountain that we just can’t climb. This is the perfect time to harness the power of five. That doesn’t mean getting the other five residents of my happy home to do the job, although there are many days they do, lovely lot they are.

The power of five gives us permission to tackle tasks in blocks of five; this might be five minutes or five items. Putting five things away, washing five things up or challenging ourselves to clear the drainer in less than five minutes, whatever feels most pressing or seems the easiest. The relief that comes from allowing ourselves to begin without the expectation that we have to finish can transform our attitude, shift our perspective and give us the energy and enthusiasm we need to get moving.

Knowing that we don’t have to do it all at once can make a big difference. This doesn’t have to take all day. We can face the job head on and start, that’s all we have to do. It will only take a moment, or five, yet the fact that we’ve got the ball rolling and started at all means that next time we pass by there is just that bit less to do.

And you know what…once we’re in motion, we might just keep going. Maybe we can do five more, and five more, until it’s all done. Releasing our attachment to finishing can get the job done painlessly and easily, and if it doesn’t, well at least we’ve started and that, my friends, is often the hardest part.

I’d love to know what mind tricks help you get stuff done, leave a comment below. And now I’m off to start that washing up…five things at a time!

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