Stuck in a rut? Do 5 things and increase your productivity


It’s Sunday morning and you frankly admit that you have absolutely no passion or will power to do anything. You know it is not going to be a good day for productivity. How many times have you felt this way? It’s more common than you think. Whether it’s procrastination, laziness, or just a plain lack of drive, it has the ability of putting a serious roadblock to any attempt of getting through the day productively. That’s where the concept of doing just 5 things comes into play.

Yep, 5 of them.

Doing 5 things came about when toying around with the Pomodoro technique. The Pomodoro technique is all about setting aside a fixed amount of time (usually 25 minutes) to execute some tasks. Once the time interval is over, it’s time to take a measured break, and then perform another pomodoro if needed. At the end of it all, you count the number of pomodoros and call it a day.

I use this technique often and it has its merits. It usually works for me mostly when I am in front of my computer. But for doing things around the house, 25 minutes seems like a large amount of time for me. It takes away the personal recognition of performing each and every task and feel the rewards that come from it, and focuses instead on feeling good after hearing that timer go off. The problem is that waiting 25 minutes for you to feel great about what you’ve done is sometimes too long to keep you motivated in the first place.

What’s in a 5?

So why 5? Why not 10, or 15. or even 1? Well, that’s a good question, and one that I can take a crack at answering. Doing 1 thing and then hitting the couch gives you no drive to perform anything after. And doing 10 things feels like you’re running a marathon, especially when it’s one of those lazy days! Doing 5 things is right in the middle – it’s enough to get you off your behind to do things, and not too much to make it look overwhelming.

The rules around 5 things

It’s simple:

  1. Do 5 things – not more and not less.
  2. Don’t plan the 5 minutes. Look around and just do things. Clean, declutter, move – it doesn’t matter. Just make it happen.
  3. If you do something really small, like picking up a napkin off the floor, it counts as something smaller than 1 – give it a 1/4 or 1/2 a point. The reason for this is to avoid doing these 5 things too quickly. Remember – you want just enough to do to keep you on your toes to be motivated to do stuff.
  4. Once the 5 things are over, take a break – a well deserved break.

Chances are that you’re probably going to want to do another 5 things.


The Lifecheer takeaway: For some reason, the doing 5 things method changed my life. When I get up in the morning, doing 5 things is an amazing start to my day. Even when things are overwhelming to me, doing 5 things brings me closer to the finish line. Slow and steady always wins the race.


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