The Two-Minute Rule

If a task takes less than two minutes, then do it now. Overcome procrastination by taking quick action, and see your productivity levels increase.

The Two-Minute Rule

David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, coined a simple concept called the two-minute rule.

If a task takes less than two minutes, do it now. If it will take longer, write it down and save it for later.

How Do I Apply It?

I think about this a lot during the day, whenever I see a pile of papers laying around, or remember I had to transfer some money from the bank, or I notice an empty glass on my desk. And I’ll think to myself, “it’s okay, I can take care of it later.”

But I remind myself that if I follow the two-minute rule consistently, my brain would be less cluttered with little things I need to do that could distract me from the important tasks of the day. Basically, it is like relieving your brain of extra and unnecessary stress. Think of your brain like a balloon. Big and little tasks add air to the balloon and stretch it to maximum capacity, almost at its popping point. When you get rid of the little tasks, the balloon is not stretched out as much and won't pop.

So, if you see a dirty mug laying around or can pay a bill in two minutes or less, do those things as soon as you think of them! Even though it doesn’t seem like much, you’ll find yourself less stressed about your to-do list.

Starting a New Habit

Have you been wanting to start a new habit, but don’t know where to start? To take Allen’s concept a step further, you will see that any habit can be made into a two-minute version.

  • "Go to the gym” becomes “put on my workout clothes"
  • “Study for class” becomes “open my notebook"
  • “Read before bed” becomes “read one page before bed"

Anyone can read one page of a book or put on workout clothes, so making a habit as easy as possible will inspire you to continue down a productive road and stick with the endeavor.

Instead of starting a new habit perfectly from the start, do the easy version of it consistently. Establish the habit before you improve it and then master the finer details.

Have you tried the two-minute rule? If so, how did it go? Let me know by leaving a comment down below!