I wish I had the time to learn to play the piano
We all say things like “If I had my life again I’d learn to play the piano”, or even worse “I wish I had started learning 10 years ago…”, translation — “I wish the work was already done and I could just play beautifully right now”.
We have all the time we need to become better than 99% of people at any particular task, the good news is there is a shortcut… a long-term shortcut.
There is only one question that matters, do you have 5 minutes to spare for your dream?. Sounds like the start of a bad sales pitch but the truth is that 5 minutes is all you need to get started, and all you need to finish.
Our lives can be broken down into an almost infinite number of small tasks, each one building toward different goals that in the end equal a life worth living.
A timer is all you need to get started, these are the steps and they require no setup time.
1) Set a timer for 5 minutes
2) Start the timer
3) Start your task
4) Stop your task when the timer goes off
That’s it! If you do those four steps you have started down a journey that will lead you wherever you want to go, as long as you repeat them tomorrow without fail.
If you manage to do those four steps for 30 days without fail you don’t need to read any more. If you need more convincing then read on.
5 Minutes because Life is hard
Life is incredibly hard for all of us no matter our background, wealth, social status. Outside of work most of us don’t have the time to really achieve everything we want, we barely have enough time to get started.
The truth is we suck at many things:
– We suck at getting things done
– We suck at getting things started
– We suck at managing our time
– We suck at estimating time (“I don’t have the time”)”
It is important to only start with five minutes. We all want to jump in at the deep end, become dedicated and spend two hours a day working toward our goal, whatever that may be. We want to put aside an evening where we have hours in which to really dedicate ourselves and get that task out of the way, that evening then looms over us like a disappointed parent and in the best case get’s delayed, in the worst case it never arrives. Sound familiar? Let’s change the process to something more innocuous.
Sit down for five minutes and make sure you down tools when the timer goes off, keep it this way for at least 7 days. In the first few weeks we are building discipline above all and it really doesn’t matter too much how productive we end up being, it is all about turning up to do the work and doing that every day without fail.
We all have had bursts of inspiration, we stay up into the small hours working away on something and the time flies because we are in “the zone”. For the first few weeks ignore the zone. The reason is that if we continue working beyond five minutes for one session or more, we will subconsciously increase the amount of time that task will take to complete. The idea is that five minutes can be slotted in at almost any time of day or night and you want to remove all possible excuses for not doing it. However, if you have had a few days where you got in the zone and work beyond five minutes, subconsciously this daily task now has the possibility of taking much longer than five minutes and so you are likely to go looking for a half hour slot to fit in whether you realise you are doing it or not.
In the time it has taken to read this post you could have made the first step in a long a fulfilling journey. When you get started you will see that the journey is all there is, there is no destination because you are already there.
Get a timer out, get to work, stop after 5 minutes. It’s the best system ever because you can do whatever you want with the remaining 23 hours and 55 minutes of the day.
This blog post contains 777 words and has had multiple edits, I didn’t plan any time or put aside a single evening to complete it.