What is the 10-minute rule? And how does it help you get everything done?

What is the 10-minute rule? And how does it help you get everything done?

The British Parliament has an unusual rule for introducing a bill, also called the 10-minute rule. This is the amount of time an MP has to propose his idea. The House of Commons then decides whether or not to accept the bill for debate, and it either passes first reading or is dropped.

This method eliminates the main trigger of procrastination – the struggle between the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex. Such a short period of time as 10 minutes can also be used to improve your own productivity. But first we have to figure out why we tend to put things off in the first place.

Why is it hard for us to get things done?

Scientifically speaking, procrastination is a kind of battle between our limbic system and the prefrontal cortex.

The limbic system is responsible for the “fight or flight” instinct that has been peculiar to our ancestors. In terms of productivity, it is expressed in the desire to give in to emotions and temptations. It is the same voice that says, “Come on, you can do it tomorrow, let’s watch a TV show”. The prefrontal cortex, on the other hand, helps us set goals and plan behavior.

However, it is often the limbic system that wins, which encourages us to procrastinate and choose short-term pleasure. The 10-minute rule can help correct this.The 10-minute rule can help correct this.

How the rule works

Its main purpose is to fool the limbic system by persuading yourself to start working on the task at hand. To do this, you need to focus not on the result, but on self-giving, avoiding excessive planning and thinking.

Don’t tell yourself that you will read a whole chapter of a book – tell yourself that you will read exactly 10 minutes. Don’t convince yourself to run a mile; decide to just run for 10 minutes.

This method works like clockwork for one simple reason – once you start doing something, you’re likely to forget the time. When we don’t want to do something, we imagine that the task is much harder than it really is. But once we take on it, we realize that it will take much less time and effort. This reduces the level of worry and anxiety.

It’s easy to convince yourself:

“I’ll do this task for exactly 10 minutes, and then I’ll decide if I want to continue or not”.

You’ll see, once you start, you won’t want to stop.

Why this approach increases performance

The value of the 10-minute rule is to hone the habit of starting to act. This method doesn’t promise quick wins, but rather sets off a chain reaction of success that begins when we simply take action.

There are three main reasons why this approach is so effective:

  1. Starting do something is always harder than continuing. The most excruciating thing about procrastination is taking the first step. But after 10 minutes of work, you get into a rhythm, and everything becomes much easier;
  2. The main goal is dedication, not results. “Getting to the goal” even sounds exhausting. And working for 10 minutes seems a much more relaxed task to our brains. In addition, this wording reduces subconscious pressure and thirst for success and shifts attention from the result to the task itself;
  3. Making new habits becomes much easier. It’s hard to drastically change your daily schedule right away. The 10-Minute Rule helps to make it easy, gradual and consistent.

So as you can see, there are many advantages to this method. If 10 minutes seems like too much time to you, experiment and start with two or five minutes of action. After all, even if you feel like quitting, a few minutes of work is always better than nothing.


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