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5-second/minute rule to avoid getting distracted

A couple of months ago I’ve received an email from Blinkist. If you’ve ever signed up for it, probably you got this email as well. It was a gift from the company. They offered free access to Blinkist premium for two weeks until the end of the month. I jumped in and enjoyed my free trial. During those two weeks, I had the chance to read the summaries of 10 books I was curious about. From those summaries, a few things stuck with me, and one of them was the 5-second rule. This rule helped me to improve my focus.

The rule is pretty simple:

Whenever you find yourself getting distracted from the work you need to do, you take a deep breath and start counting backwards from 5 to 1.

This helps you to become self-aware of your urges rather than directly acting on them. And you go back to act on your commitment. For me, those urges are mostly about checking the news or YouTube. I used to scroll down endlessly on Instagram as well but I deleted my personal account last year so I’m free of it now.

Sometimes my urges get too strong to resist. At those times I change the 5-second rule into the 5-minute rule. Within those 5 minutes, I allow myself to lay down and think. I imagine myself watching videos or acting on whatever distraction I was about to get myself into. I also imagine the afterwards feeling of acting on my distraction. So, I realize that it doesn’t really worth the trouble, and I will feel a lot happier if I finish my work or spend my time on something more valuable such as reading, writing, spending time with my family or friends, etc.

“Stopping for a few minutes and thinking before acting” is indeed a great help to break a bad habit cause at those moments you’re paying attention to your state of being rather than escaping it. Along the way, you build a good habit that you can utilize in every aspect of your life.

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