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Use the 2 minute rule to get things done

Updated on October 22, 2012

Everyone wants to get more done in less time with less stress and worry. And there are plenty of systems out there which promise just that. If you are a geek like me there is a danger that you will spend more time on your system than on any of the things you are meant to be working on!

My favourite productivity system has to be Getting Things Done by David Allen. He explains the system in his book, also called Getting Things Done (and often abbreviated as GTD). I would definitely recommend it, but like any system you should tweak it to fit your life and work.

The two minute rule.

One of the ideas in this book that I have found the most useful is the two minute rule.

Like any productivity system, GTD is about managing todo lists and how to get things onto and off of them. The two minute rule says "Don't add anything to your todo list system that will take less than two minutes to do. Just do it."

Of course, you can't always drop what you doing to do the little two minute task you just remembered. That's why in GTD you still capture all these tasks in your in-tray/inbox. But when you come to process your inbox, just kill these little tasks off. Don't make an extra entry in your all your lists if it will take as much time to write it down and cross it off as it does to do it.

Personally, if I can get the little job done straight away I often will and not even bother to put it in my inbox.

It's so easy to spend more time planning tasks than doing them (at least it is for me) that I need a rule like this to short circuit the process and just let me get minor tasks out of the way.

Another rule.

I should probably add another rule, the "just don't bother rule". Sometimes there are jobs that we don't need to do and I know I have to be careful not to take on work that is not really aligned with my goals. So it doesn't hurt to stop and ask sometimes, "why am I even doing this?".

I'd definitely recommend GTD even if you only use bits of it. Check it out and see if GTD and the 2 minute rule can make your life more efficient and less stressful.


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    • Cruncher profile image

      Cruncher 5 years ago from UK

      Thanks for comment Taleb80.

      Exactly. A lot of GTD is just "common sense" but it's a really clear system for actually applying it to work. Which is what makes it so good.

    • Taleb80 profile image

      Taleb AlDris 5 years ago

      Actually, 2 minute rule is very wise & logic.

      Thank you for sharing this hub.

      I voted Useful.