David Allen’s book, “Getting Things Done” split my life in half. This means after I read it and implemented his Getting Things Done Productivity System, life just wasn’t the same.
This is very high praise for a book but the 2 Minute Rule is an example of a piece of practical advice I was able to immediately apply and see my productivity skyrocket.
Here’s the rule:
If a task takes 2 minutes or less to do, do it
A common response to this is what if it takes 3 min? or 4 min?
Do it anyway.
If you’re skeptical, here is the reason why this works: doing the task actually now will take less time than if you were to process it, organize it in your task management system, and ensure you complete it later.
One last piece of advice: when you start implementing this rule, as you come across a task and ask yourself, “Can I complete this in 2 minutes?” if you think you can, start a timer and actually time yourself.
When I started following this rule, there there were certain tasks I thought I could complete in 2 minutes. In reality they ended up taking much longer and I started to learn that these types of tasks were actually projects with multiple steps that I hadn’t broken up in to next actions. Furthermore, you’ll quickly get quite adept and understanding how long a certain task will take and you quickly won’t need to time yourself.
Lastly, if the task isn’t something you can do in 2 minutes, what do you do?
- Decide = schedule a time to do it
- Delegate = who can do it for you ?
- Delete = Eliminate it
The above comes from the Eisenhower Matrix, also known as the Urgent-Important Matrix, popularized by Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States.