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The 2-Minute Rule

Jan 04, 2022

by Aubrey Patterson


Is your mind filled with both the little and big things that need to be done?

Do you cringe or uncomfortably joke about the number of emails in your inbox?

The 2-Minute Rule

The 2-minute rule is a simple strategy for those with complex goals and a ton of stuff coming at them.

There are many variants of the 2-minute rule but the original source is David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. At the core of the GTD Method is the main tenet that we should get everything out of our heads and into a paper or digital system.

If a task will take less than two minutes, then the time spent adding it to a system will exceed the time it takes to complete the task. Logically, we should just complete the task.

If the next action can be done in two minutes or less, do it when you first pick the item up…The rationale for the two-minute rule is that it’s more or less the point where it starts taking longer to store and track an item than to deal with it the first time it’s in your hands—in other words, it’s the efficiency cutoff. (David Allen)

It’s surprising the number of things we put off that we could get done in two minutes: emptying the dishwasher, adding paper to the copier, responding to an email, paying a bill, and a multitude of other daily tasks.

There's no complex workflow involved and the rule is easy to add immediately. It builds a bias towards action, reinforcing a habit of attacking stuff head-on rather than things languish on a list or in our heads. 

Implementing the 2-minute rule in our routines is the perfect lead domino to get stuff out of our heads, greatly improve productivity, and build momentum. 



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