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The rule of five beyond your five a day

So I’ve got three boys aged 13 and younger. If all these years as a parent have taught me something for business, it’s that little and often works better than procrastinating and facing a huge heap. How did my family life make me come to that conclusion? 

Take bedrooms. Even thinking about them left to their own devices fills me with fear and utter despair. I know I wasn’t great as a child (my parents later concluded that I just had my very own way of organising that didn’t quite match the adult world) but those three are a level above. 

The words wading through stuff gets new meaning. So how can you motivate your seven year old bedroom dumpster dive loving thespian to clean up his act? 

Or laundry. You’ve gone through hours of repeat soak, wash, rinse cycles to get it all done, then fold / iron basket loads and – this is where it remains. The fruit of your labour stacked up but never touched to be put away into above mentioned kids’ wardrobes. Yet we somehow need to teach them independence and self-sufficiency (or house chore slavery only goes that far). So what do you do?

In comes Steve’s rule of five. It’s one of many little rule nuggets I’ve adopted from him over time. Every day, the kids have to pick up just five things from their bedroom floor before they can do whatever they asked if they can do it. Every laundry, they get a small pile of about five items to put in their drawers. Instead of battering them into prolonged activities, they can spend just five minutes doing whatever practice – can be more, but five is ok. And they have to go outside just for five minutes no matter what the weather (which is then never just five once they are out and about)… 

The rule of five works great for business. It takes the scariness out of the scariest task list. Prioritise and focus on the top five and you have a good chance to get them done. Do little bits of admin every day so end of month isn’t a daunting bank reconciliation exercise.

It doesn’t have to be exactly five. The point being that little but regularly is far more manageable than avoidance with the inevitable mountain to climb in the end. And whilst it may seem never ending, I much prefer this way to the alternative of sporadic exhausting long slogs. 

Plus little but often keeps you practiced and five a day is a thing we can all do (even the government says…) 

Regine Wilber

I am a brand consultant and conceptual designer. I love using creativity to solve problems for our clients. In my spare time, I like jigsaws and probably a bit of a board game geek. 

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