Five Minutes or Less Rule

If It Takes Less Than Five Minutes, Just Do It!

Get those pesky small "to dos" off your to-do list.


My friends frequently ask me how I manage to keep up with all the different events around campus and respond to the plethora of college emails and texts that vibrate my phone every hour. Initially, I don't have an answer because these actions are what I just do on autopilot without thinking about them too much. I realized the reason I keep my inbox below 10 unread emails is that of the simple rule: if it takes less than five minutes, just do it.

By following this rule, I get all the nitty gritty emails, texts, and other tasks out of the way so I can focus on homework assignments and other priorities. For example, if I am alerted by an email reminding me to pay a specific bill, I quickly pay the bill before I forget to do it later. I know it will only take me three minutes to pay a bill online. The longer I push it off, the more likely I am to forget about what I have to do and I continue to procrastinate doing the task.

As a result, this attitude displays itself in school and work. Most assignments do not take five minutes (though we all wish they would), so allotting a thirty minute limit on a task helps guide and focus your attention to what you need to do. After thirty minutes, you can choose to continue with the task if you fall into a rhythm or you can abandon it for another thirty-minute time slot. I always find that when I break up long study sessions for one subject to work on another subject with an easier task, I am able to accomplish more in a short amount of time.

Not every task is five minutes or less. If that's the case, jotting it down or adding it to your calendar as a reminder will allow you to plan adequate time for it later. It takes less than a minute to add to your planner or calendar, so there should be no excuse to not keep a reminder. Similarly, this rule can be utilized to avoid a messy desk or tons of dirty dishes. It takes a minute to wash a single dish, but thirty minutes to wash a sink full of dishes. Sooner or later, immediately washing a dish after eating will become a habit. The five minute or less rule will integrate itself into your life making jobs that pile up easily less of a burden.

The five minute or less rule has helped me not become overwhelmed with small, bothersome jobs that need to be done. Minutes, even hours are wasted complaining about everything you need to do or all the emails you need to respond to that you let accumulate in your inbox. By acknowledging that I can be done with a chore or job in five minutes, I am more efficient while doing the job.

So set a timer for five minutes and see what you can do.

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40 Small Things That Make College Students Happy

It doesn't take much...

1. When class is canceled.

2. When the coffee shop you stop at five minutes before your 8 a.m. has a short line.

3. Coffee, coffee, coffee.

4. Open note tests.

5. Or even better, take home tests.

6. The unofficial assigned seating process that that takes place after the first week or so of classes.

7. Thursday nights. (because in college, Thursday qualifies as the weekend.)

8. Sales.

9. Or once again, even better, free things.

10. Specifically free food.

11. Dogs.

12. Dogs on campus.

13. Tailgates and Saturday afternoon football games.

14. Finding an already completed Quizlet for your exam.

15. Having an extra 30 minutes for a nap, and if you're lucky, an hour.

16. Netflix.

17. When your roommate takes out the trash.

18. Weekends after test weeks.

19. The rare blessing of a curve on an exam.

20. Getting out of class early.

21. How in college, it is socially expectable to wear a t-shirt everyday.

22. Being able to walk from class to class or eat in the dining hall without having to see anyone you know. (and thank goodness too because you probably don't look too good.)

23. Crossing things off of your to-do list.

24. Your best-friends that you make in college.

25. A full tank of gas.

26. Seeing a new face everyday.

27. Crawling back into bed after your 8 or 9 a.m. (or after any class that ends with a.m.)

28. Care packages.

29. No cover charges.

30. When adults tell you that it is okay that you have no idea what you want to do with your life yet. (regardless of what parents or your advisor may say.)

31. Pizza.

32. Finding out you weren't the only one who did poorly on the exam.

33. Deciding not to buy the textbook, and never needing it.

34. Finding the perfect gif to express how you're feeling. (Michael Scott just get it.)

35. Weekends at home because...

36. Pets.

37. Mom's home cooked pie and Dad's steak dinners,

38. Spring Break.

39. Road trips.

40. When it finally starts to cool down outside so you can show up to class dry instead of dripping in sweat.

Cover Image Credit: Abigail Wideman

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Trust The Process

Everything happens for a reason, all you gotta do is trust it.


So many people go through their lives waiting for the next big thing. We all don't want to enjoy the time it takes to get somewhere, we just want it to happen right away. The problem is there are so many new and exciting learning experiences that we may miss because we're too focused on the next big thing.

Everyone's life path is different and just because yours is different from someone else's doesn't mean its not the right thing for you. We are all meant to be in different places, with different aspirations, and different adventures. Never base your life achievements on someones else's, and never put them on a timeline.

Everything takes time, that's why life is a process. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and all those hard periods of life are all learning experiences. It may feel like the end of the world when it's happening but if you really take the time to reflect, you'll understand what it taught you.

Where ever you are is where you're supposed to be.

What's the rush? Enjoy the moment you're currently in and relax. Too many people stress about every little thing. Understand that where you are, is where you're supposed to be and trust the process and plan that God has given you.

When you go through life in full speed, you'll wake up when you're old and realize you never took the time to enjoy life when you were living it. Live in the moment and everything will fall into place.

But don't get me wrong, you have to work towards where you want to be. Nothing will ever be handed to you, but if you work for what you want and trust the process, everything will turn out the way it was always supposed to be.

Fist you have to appreciate where you are and where you've been. Relax and enjoy yourself every moment you can. It's important to know your value and to trust yourself. Work for where you want to be and then let the process take you.

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