The two-minute rule is a time-management strategy that can dramatically improve productivity. Forget long to-do lists that create overwhelm (or self-importance!), if you really want to get things done, try this rule. You’ll eliminate procrastination and accomplish more every day.
The ‘2-minute rule’ can make an enormous difference in your life – especially if you have a penchant for procrastination. It is ascribed to productivity king, David Allen, author of the renowned Getting Things Done book.
The concept of the two-minute rule is that if you’ve got a task that can be completed in two minutes (hence the name!), you do it immediately. You don’t add it to your to-do list you get it done. Competing short tasks in this way will leave your long-suffering to-do-list to comprise of longer tasks, which you can schedule or work through when you have more time.
This two-minute rule applies to all kinds of chores, too, not just work-related tasks. Whether you’ve got emails to answer, dishes to wash or the bin to take out, the two-minute rule applies.
How Does the Two-Minute Rule Work?
Think about the tasks that you’re procrastinating about now. Are they actually hard to do? Do you have the necessary skills to get them done? Are you just avoiding starting them for some reason? Are you just too lazy (sorry!) to complete them?
The two-minute rule suggests that if you could complete the task it in less than two minutes, do it straight away. Working this way boosts morale. You can even write it down on your-to-do list and cross it off, so you can see how much you have achieved for the day.
So, from now on, review your to-do list now. How many of those tasks could be completed in two minutes or less? Cleaning your desk? Making a phone call? Putting the laundry into the washing machine? Get them done now!
Of course, not every goal can be completed in such a short timeframe like two minutes. Yet all goals can be started in under two minutes. Let’s look at the science of how this works. According to well-renowned scientist Isaac Newton, objects at rest stay at rest. Objects in motion stay in motion.
That meansm, once you begin a task it’s easier to carry on with it. The hardest part is just getting started in th e first place. So, if you need to write a report, write a single sentence. It will take two minutes to do, but it could start you off and you’ll write for an hour.
The key element of the two-minute rule is that it isn’t necessarily about results. Instead, it’s about the process. The method focuses on taking action consistently, rather than about performance. Try it for yourself today and see if it revolutionises the way you get things done.
Cons of the Two-Minute Rule
The last thing anyone who is trying to improve productivity needs is to get distracted and go off track. If you are easily distracted, it might be worth setting a timer on your phone for…two minutes. This will help you stay focused on the task at hand and reel you back in if that quick email reply turns into a half-hour email reading session, thereby ignoring other tasks on your list.