The Two Minute Rule

Photo credit: Michela Lamedica

Photo credit: Michela Lamedica

In David Allen’s book Getting Things Done, he describes a philosophy for increasing productivity by clearing out the small tasks so that they don’t build up to become an overwhelming mountain of a to-do list. The premise is this: if it the task will take you 2 minutes or less to complete, do it. Do it now. Quick and dirty.

You probably have several of these items on your daily to-do lists and looking at them all can be stressful. But if you break it down into a sublist of 2-minute tasks it becomes instantly more manageable. These tasks will be mostly things you can do on auto-pilot but things that you still need to get done. Depending on the size of your home, vacuuming the entire thing will take more than 2 minutes. But vacuuming one room can probably be completed in that time. Cooking dinner might be something you could do in your sleep, but since it will take you more than 2 minutes to complete you wouldn’t include that on your 2-minute list. However, I’m sure you could knock out a TPS report, or empty the dishwasher in 2 minutes or less.

Once you have your list of 2-minute tasks laid out, get it done. It will take far less time than you think and you’ll feel better immediately for having gotten so much done in such a small amount of time. Don’t think about it. Just get it done.

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