It`s surprising how many things we put off what we could do in two minutes or less. For example, washing your dishes immediately after eating, throwing the laundry in the washing machine, taking out the garbage, cleaning the clutter, sending this email, etc. You are right and wrong. David`s has clearly stated its rule as people call it – if it`s less than 2 minutes, then do it. However, he also talks about treatment as a completely different idea and that the ability to identify the tasks you should be doing is probably just as important as getting things done. The bottom line is that if you can do something in two minutes, do it. Whether you`re processing emails, creating between tasks or appointments, or creating your to-do list, remember the 2-minute rule. Make using the 2-minute rule a habit and you`ll improve your productivity and do more things. So go from the email to your calendar to add the 6pm appointment, and then you think, “Wait, I think it`s going to rain. Let me check that. (Because it will also take less than two minutes.) So you go to the weather app on your phone and are greeted with their video screen that says, “A deadly tornado sweeps through Oklahoma.” However, when dealing with today`s mostly electronic world, there are tons of things that bombard you in real time that can really be done in two minutes, and you can spend all your time walking through two-minute rabbit holes. So I have to process the time box of the email or yes, you are distracted to death. Strategies like these also work for another reason: they strengthen the identity you want to build.
If you show up at the gym for five days in a row – even if it`s only for two minutes – you`re voting for your new identity. They don`t worry about getting in shape. You focus on becoming the kind of person who doesn`t miss training. You take the smallest action that confirms the type of person you want to be. The two-minute rule may seem like a trick to some people. You know that the real goal is to do more than two minutes, so you may feel like you`re trying to make a mistake. No one really strives to read a page, push up, or open their notes. And if you know it`s a mental trick, why would you fall into the trap? The two-minute tasks also allow you to take advantage of small time slots. Let`s say you have a webinar or conference call that starts in five minutes. You might waste time registering on Facebook or Instagram. Or you can perform a few 2-minute tasks, such as cleaning emails, organizing Evernote, or even changing a light bulb or watering a plant.
By breaking down larger projects, we can avoid the initial paralysis we feel before we start and simply start with a small part. The next time you feel the urge to hesitate, identify something you can do in just two minutes to get started. You don`t need to read “two minutes” here too literally. The main point Allen makes in his book is that if the effort to remember to complete a task later is more effort than actually doing it, do it now – do it! If you`re marking an email for later but don`t take it out of your head completely, it may be best to process it immediately. When we suspend or leave tasks unfinished, we fall victim to the Zeigarnik effect – jobs harass us and consume our attention until we can finally do so. What can you do that will take you less than two minutes? Right now. Since he took care of physical tasks, the two-minute rule was easy for him to say, “Do it whenever you find a task you can do in two minutes,” not just during processing. Examples – I have a piece of paper, I can either put it down in two minutes or stack it later.
I have a salt shaker on my desk that really has a place in the kitchen. I can log in to the library page and renew a library book (maybe more than two minutes). Let`s say you need to design an ebook – something you can do in just two minutes could be deciding on a working title or retrieving data about how your latest ebook works. “Two minutes is really just a guideline. If you have a long window of opportunity open to process your bin, you can extend the limit for each item to five or ten minutes. If you need to get to the bottom of all your entries quickly to figure out how to get the most out of your afternoon, you might want to reduce the time to a minute or even thirty seconds so you can get through it all a little faster. “If a task takes less than two minutes, follow the rule and run it immediately. This is where the two-minute rule comes into play. You can break down any big task or project into quick bites that will get you started, keep the momentum going, and accomplish an overwhelming task two minutes at a time.
So you look at the first message, but then an unrelated thought comes to mind: “Ooh, I have to think about running errands after work, so I should write a note about it on my calendar so I don`t forget. Putting this appointment on my calendar takes less than two minutes, so I should do it now! Hats off to David Allen, whose version of the two-minute rule says, “If it takes less than two minutes, do it now. For more information, see David Allen, Getting Things Done (New York: Penguin, 2015).