I’ve got a bone to pick with Kevin Systrom. He created one of the Internet’s most powerful procrastination drugs. He’s Instagram’s CEO and co-founder.
Instagram is to blame every time I fail to get work done. Mindlessly scrolling through pictures of my friends’ fabulous lives makes putting off any pressing task for a just few more minutes so easy. Instagram boasts 700 million users, so I’m sure I’m not the only one.
This fact makes it terribly ironic to discover that Systrom himself struggles with procrastination. I guess even successful billionaire entrepreneurs have to-dos they’d rather tackle later. In a brief interview with Axios and Politco co-founder Mike Allen, Systrom shared a bit about how he’s able to stay so productive.
His most important hour of the day
Allen also asked Instagram’s CEO if there’s one part of his morning routine he never skips or cuts short. He’s where Systrom fully embraces the role of busy-but-productive Silicon Valley entrepreneur. Allen’s morning routine includes exercise, just like Apple’s CEO Tim Cook; Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Square; and Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group.
But not just any exercise. A full 60 minutes of it. Systrom says he wakes up every morning and does an hour-long bike workout. One day he’d even like to compete in Paris-Roubaix, a famously difficult one-day bike race in France that boasts challenging terrain over cobblestones.
The just-five-minutes rule
In the interview, Systrom said his favorite life hack of all-time is the procrastination-busting one: “If you don’t want to do something, make a deal with yourself to do at least five minutes of it. After five minutes, you’ll end up doing the whole thing.”
I love how quantitative it is. I’ve heard a million times that the best way to beat procrastination is to simply start. But that’s the hard part. Motivating yourself to start that’s usually the biggest hurdle. But if you tell yourself you only have to do it for five minutes? It’s far easier to take that first step.
To close out the interview, Systrom offered up his favorite time-saving app. He’s a big fan of Waze, the traffic app that finds the fastest route. “Bay area traffic can be trite, but I use Waze every day to avoid sitting on the 101,” he says.