Human beings have been delaying starting different tasks for centuries. The problem is so timeless, in fact, that ancient Greek philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle developed a word to describe this type of behavior: Akrasia.
We can call it akrasia or “not quite in the mood to start this” or “Sure, I’ll get started! Let me just grab a cup of coffee!” or “One more Facebook scroll and I’ll get on it”… it sounds familiar to all of us or at least most of us. And although we usually avoid annoying or time-consuming tasks or generally the tasks that make us uncomfortable, it happens to also postpone important tasks. For instance, did it ever happen to you to forget sending the international top ups you promised to send on the next Cubacel promo? Is this the case now? You do know that a Cubacel promo is running this week, offering extra bonuses to your top ups to Cuba, right?
Back to procrastination and how to put an end to it!
James Clear, the author of New York bestselling book Atomic habits recommends a simple 2-minute rule.
The Two-Minute Rule states “When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do.”
You’ll find that nearly any habit can be scaled down into a two-minute version:
- “Read before bed each night” becomes “Read one page.”
- “Do thirty minutes of yoga” becomes “Take out my yoga mat.”
- “Study for class” becomes “Open my notes.”
- “Fold the laundry” becomes “Fold one pair of socks.”
- “Run three miles” becomes “Tie my running shoes.”
The idea is to make your habits as easy as possible to start. Anyone can meditate for one minute, read one page, or exercise for 2 minutes. James Clear says that strategies like this work for another reason too: they reinforce the identity you want to build. If you show up at the gym three days in a row—even if it’s just for two minutes—you are casting votes for your new identity. You’re not worried about getting in shape. You’re focused on becoming the type of person who doesn’t miss workouts. You’re taking the smallest action that confirms the type of person you want to be.