• Julia

Focus More and Stop Procrastinating with the 5-4-3-2-1-Go! Technique

Updated: Jan 23, 2019


Female student in white night dress sitting on bed, whilst hair hair is tossed in the air, and the books are flying around her.

For some people focusing on a task is a challenge. This is specially more challenging for the younger generations who have a shorter attention spam thanks to the social media and the fast-paced exchange of compressed posts and contents. People dealing with big projects find it difficult to focus as well. It seems, as a form of defence mechanism, the brain averts its attention from dealing with a complicated or mentally draining task. Hence the inability to focus. This is one of the reasons that one would procrastinate. Procrastination can go on for hours, weeks, or even months. I have dealt with many projects in my life and written content for many companies and institutions. I learnt early on that the bigger the project or the more challenging the essay, the harder to focus. So, I had to look into finding a technique to deal with procrastination. Luckily I found one.


The “5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – Go!” Technique


This is a very simple yet effective technique that is used for focusing, increasing productivity, and putting a stop to procrastination. Here’s how it works: you count-down from 5, then launch into your project and commit to it for 20 minutes. So, 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – Go! Keep focusing for only 20 minutes. Don’t think of the project as something that would demand hours of work. Only make your brain be with this project for 20 minutes at a comfortable rate. It is very important that you understand this is a 20-minute medium, easy-going engagement, and not a full-throttle activity.


Why the countdown, and why only 20 minutes? The countdown eliminates the worries to come to your attention—the countless excuses the brain comes up with to put you off the project. Additionally, the countdown reminds one of NASA’s launch of space shuttles. I quite like this image as it carries with it the child-like feeling of discovering new potentials and uncharted territories by counting down and launching into a project. Why 20 minutes? It sends a signal to the brain that you need only 20 minutes of its energy and not at full power. During this 20-minute engagement your brain will get used to the project and will understand that dealing with this task is not frightening at all, and you will find yourself working on your project (such as your essay, homework, dissertation, or design) for an hour or so! So, sit down behind your desk (or comfortably on your sofa or even in your bed), open up your project, and then 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – Go! Enjoy hours of stress-free focus and a higher rate of productivity.

NASA space-shuttle lunch by the sea. The space craft is mid air, leaving a mass of thick cloud on the earth.