MY FAVORITE PRODUCTIVITY RULE: THE TWO-MINUTE RULE


Try the two-minute rule at home or at work

Being organized is not as hard or as time-consuming as not-so-organized people may think. It’s just a matter of doing things right the first time instead of going around kicking the can for days or weeks.


Over time, I’ve read a number of books on productivity and time management and listened to many experts on the subject and they all offer useful tips and worthy suggestions on being more productive at work and at home, and I apply many of those suggestions to my personal and professional life. But there is one little rule that I love more than any other and I think you’ll do too: the two-minute rule.


This is a very simple yet effective rule: if you can complete a task in two minutes or less do it now. Don’t put it on the "pending" pile and don’t write it down in your to-do list. Do it now. When you go pick up your mail, sort it out and get rid of all the junk mail before entering your house again, recycle everything that’s not important or that you have no use for -now or in the future. Don’t let it sit on your kitchen counter; junk mail has a really fast way of accumulating.


There are several things that can be done in two minutes or less. Here a few examples:

  • Pay a bill (online or by check)

  • Make a phone call

  • Make an appointment online

  • File a bank statement in the appropriate folder

  • Water a plant or two

  • Download that productivity app you want to start using

  • Add an event to your calendar

  • Throw away the old receipts you still carry in your purse

  • Sort your mail

  • Read this post!


The premise is that if completing a task will take you the same amount of time as writing it down in your to-do list or pinning it to the cork board on the wall as a reminder, then it’s better to just get it done at once. Makes sense, right? For me it sure does.


Procrastinators tend to leave, let's say, a utensil on the kitchen countertop rather than opening the drawer, right below, and putting it away in its proper place. This is one thing I’ll never understand and therefore, drives me crazy.


The beauty of this rule is that it's easy to follow and applies to every aspect of your life, so feel free to make this rule your own by deciding to follow a three, a five, or a 10-minute rule, whatever works best for you. If you check your current to-do list, I’m sure you’ll find a few tasks what will take you no more than a few minutes to complete. Do them now and your list will be shorter in just a few minutes!

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