The 2 Minute Rule – Stop Procrastinating in 2 Minutes


In this article, we will explain to you the 2 minute rule that will help you to stop procrastinating and start getting things done. Read the article, start taking down small tasks immediately and increase your productivity right away!


I’ve been an incorrigible procrastinator for years. Meanwhile, I was dreaming of a “future me” that has everything I’ve ever desired. I never reached that point. Yup, you guessed that right. Not even a small part of my goals. Because over the years I did everything to sabotage myself.

I am not going to spin the whole story out here. But I will tell you how I managed to stop procrastinating. I’ll reveal the biggest secret of all time.

Okay, it was not a  big secret. Actually, I did something everyone is doing to stop procrastinating. One day I realized that I should have done something if I ever want to reach the “future me”. I needed a system to stop this meaningless flow. So I started to search for productivity tips.

It didn’t take so much time to find dozens of sources that talk about methods to increase productivity and efficiency. I’ve tried most of them. And to be honest most of them worked properly. Well, at least for a while. Because I couldn’t find a sustainable model that fits my needs.

But finally, there was one method I found really useful: The 2 Minute Rule.

Index:

What is The 2 Minute Rule?

The 2 Minute Rule is a simple productivity tip that will help you to get things done without wasting time. This rule originally comes from the book that was written by David Allen. In his bestselling book Getting Things Done, David Allen says:

“If you determine an action can be done in two minutes, you should actually do it right then. Because it will take longer to organize it and review it. Then it would actually finish it the first time you notice it.”

So, what actually The 2 Minute Rule suggests is to take action immediately for the tasks that won’t take more than 2 minutes. It is simple. Yet, easier said than done. Because there are some points that you should be careful about the rule.

But before that, let’s talk a little bit more about the 2 Minute Rule.


Are you an incorrigible procrastinator too? Well, not anymore. Because I am sure you’ve read our articles that will help you to stop procrastinating. Didn’t you read our articles yet? Shame on you. But it is okay. You can check them from the links below:


Why Do You Procrastinate? –  Don’t Procrastinate To Read This One

How To Stop Procrastinating – 7 Ways To Avoid Procrastination

Must-Read Books on Procrastination

Procrastination Courses Online

Bad And Good Procrastination

Types Of Procrastinators

Bad Procrastination


2 Versions Of The 2 Minute Rule

After this strategy was inspired by David Allen, 2 versions of the 2 Minute Rule were revealed. One of them kept following the rule as it is. The other one used the rule to help people to start a new habit.

Both versions are working pretty fine in their own ways. You just need to understand the concept behind them and use the one that fits your needs.

So, let’s dive into both versions and figure out how to use them.

Version 1: Use 2 Minute Rule To Get Things Done

You can stop procrastination by using the 2 Minute Rule. This is the whole idea behind using it. But how? The answer is simple:

By taking action.

But come on! We all know that “taking the action” is the hardest part. I mean, it is good to dream about sending all of the small, bothering tasks into the “done box”. But we all know this is how we procrastinate things! We just dream about taking the action. And thus, we all know that it is not going to happen by “simply taking action”.

So, for real now. HOW? 

How are you going to motivate yourself to take the action? Let’s say you saw a task that will take under 2 minutes while checking your to-do list. How will you resist the temptation of the backlog? Well, the backlog is sexy, right?

Yes, it is. But still, you can implement this rule into your daily routine. The secret is breaking down big tasks into small achievable goals. This approach will lead you to higher productivity.

I’ll explain this with an example.

An Example Of The Usage Of 2 Minute Rule To Stop Procrastination

Let’s say you should check your emails and declutter your inbox. Because it is a mess right now. And looking at that mess waking up the procrastination monster inside of your brain. Because you think that cleaning your inbox will take a hell out of time.

Keep in mind that: We don’t like ambiguity.

So, what should you do in this situation to structure your task? Well, you should break it down into small tasks. Here is how your “cleaning inbox” task should look like:

  • Filter all promotional emails and delete them (will take less than 2 minutes).
  • Filter all emails from your colleagues and label them (will take less than 2 minutes).
  • Filter all emails from your customers and label them (will take less than 2 minutes).
  • Filter all emails not related to the job and label them (will take less than 2 minutes).

Now, you have a clean structure in your mind. Because you organized your emails in less than 10 minutes. The second step is to check your emails according to priority. Here is how you should continue the process (I took “customer emails” as a priority in this example):

  • Sort your emails by customer label and start checking them.
  • If there is any email you can reply to in less than 2 minutes, take the action without a second thought.
  • Send the other emails to your task list.
  • Apply the same process for the other labels.

Congrats, you have a clean inbox. You managed to delete all unnecessary emails. Also, you send quick emails and ease your to-do list. Now, you can start to focus on bigger tasks that will take more time. And since you get things done, you’ll have more confidence to commit to taking action.

Version 2: Use 2 Minute Rule To Form A New Habit

You can form a new habit by using the 2 Minute Rule. This is the whole idea behind using it. But how? The answer is simple:

By taking action.

But come on! We all know that “taking the action” is the hardest part. I mean, it is good to dream about forming a healthy lifestyle. But we all know this is how we procrastinate things! We just dream about taking the action. And thus, we all know that it is not going to happen by “simply taking action”.

So, for real now. HOW?

Yeah, I know. I’ve used exactly the same sentences. I’ve made some slight changes for sure. For example, I’ve changed “to stop procrastination” and used “form a new habit” instead. But in general, the concept is the same. Because we are going to use the same approach.

This means that we are going to take baby steps to form a new habit. And again, I’ll explain this one with an example.

An Example Of The Usage Of 2 Minute Rule To Form A New Habit

Since I mentioned “healthy lifestyle” let’s use it in this example. So, let’s say you want to form a “healthy lifestyle”. You want to implement this habit into your life so hard. Because your life is a mess right now. And your body is not young enough to bear with your fast and furious lifestyle.

But looking up on your schedule waking up the procrastination monster inside of your brain. Because you think that separating some time to maintain a healthy lifestyle seems like a mission impossible with this f**** busy schedule.

Keep in mind that: We don’t like hard work.

So, what you should do in this situation to form a new habit that your body desperately needs? You should just give it a start. Yes, you read it right. You don’t need a structure to use the 2 Minute Rule to form a new habit. Because The 2 Minute rule will help you to convince your brain the task is not that hard.

Here how things are working:

You just start to do something for 2 minutes. In this case, we can take running as an example. You’ll wake up in the morning and go out for just 2 minutes of jogging. Well, at least this is what you are going to tell your brain. Because deep inside you know that you will be ending up running for more than 2 minutes.

Even though this sounds silly now, trust me it is working. You can trick your brain just in the same way it is tricking you to procrastinate. Just give this method a try to form a new habit and you’ll see that the mental resistance will be gone.

What Are The Benefits of The 2 Minute Rule?

This rule helps you to stop procrastination. That is the ultimate benefit of the 2 Minute Rule. But just to honor this rule under this section too, I’ll divide this ultimate benefit into small ones. Here you go:

  • It helps you to declutter the mess in anything.
  • Since you start the day with small accomplishments, you are having the courage to get things done the rest of the day.
  • Whenever your mood is down, you can use the 2 Minute Rule to boost it again.
  • By using The 2 Minute Rule, you’ll be able to scale down anything into a two-minute version.

How To Not Use The 2 Minute Rule?

Like everything else, there are some rules for the 2 Minute Rule too. Here is how to not use The 2 Minute Rule:

  • Do not use the 2 Minute Rule to procrastinate the important tasks. Your brain will fight with you to find small tasks to procrastinate on what matters. Do not fall into this trap.
  • Do not spend your most productive time period during the day with 2 minute tasks. That time period belongs to the tasks that have priority.
  • Do not break the rule no matter what. This is extremely important especially when you are trying to form a new habit by using the 2 Minute Rule. Go that run, read that book, watch that lesson. Just give it a start.

Does It Really Work?

Yes, it is successfully working.

Do you want to focus on important tasks? Give a hot start by taking tasks down that will take under 2 minutes. Then boom, you are on the important tasks.

Do you want to run everyday? Give it a start by running just for 2 minutes. Then boom, you will be ending up running for half an hour.

The science behind is quite simple. Because the 2 Minute Rule is using the micro to macro strategy. And as always, simplicity is the best solution.


That was all. In this article, I’ve tried to explain the 2 Minute Rule and how to use it to stop procrastination and also to form a habit.

If you have any other suggestions to overcome procrastination, just share with us your experiences to support others in this adventure! And don’t forget to share your comments about this article below!

Furkan Patan

Digital Marketer & Traveller. Blogger @HowToMotivateMe & @OlmeGormeden

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