The two minute rule is a simple and productive strategy that leads to reduced stress and an extraordinary life. David Allen originally comes up with the technique in Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity. The two minute rule is a simple process, but you have to use your judgement and make quick decisions to be effective.
Deciding what meets the two minute rule.
You have to decide if something will only take you two minutes to complete. If you decide it will take longer than two minutes, then you should delegate the task or defer it to a later time. I do not have anyone to delegate to, which means I have to prioritize and schedule tasks based on personal priorities. Organizing, listing, and scheduling items that take longer than two minutes is part of my two minute rule. In that moment, I decide how important the task is and when it needs to get done. I may add it to my to-do list or calendar when I have free time during the week, but most things can wait until the following week. Everything is not urgent and you should control the chaos by determining what is important. Do not get caught in the grocery store looking at 100 different varieties of salad dressing on the shelf. You will be standing there for 15 minutes trying to decide. How effective would that be? If you can not make a decision, do not procrastinate. Move on and schedule it later.
Benefits of the two minute rule.
Getting started on the two minute rule and completing several tasks will build up momentum. I like to work on the two minute rule as a drill each time I step into the office. It gives me small wins, a sense of accomplishment and a better mind set moving forward. The stress reduction and freedom from several, short tasks being completed will no longer nag at you while doing other larger projects. Eliminate the clutter from your physical space and free up your will power to focus on bigger tasks. Having two minute tasks piling up on you can be paralyzing and clutter up your thoughts. Imagine that your mind is like a computer. The more tasks and to-dos we keep inside there, the more space we are using up. Space is limited. What happens when the memory of a computer fills up? Well, the computer slows down. The benefit for me was immediate. I began to reduce the amount of times I forgot to do something and then it would come back up later while working on something else. I could not get to what I forgot about without stopping and restarting on the existing project.
Use the two minute rule to stay organized.
Using the two minute rule when you have extra time is a great filler. If you finish a project or task earlier than planned, begin using the two minute rule. You can send a few short emails, organize or purge items cluttering your workspace, email or workflow. Doing so will help you stay on top of things and be more productive with greater focus.