- One productivity tip mentions to do a task immediately if it takes two minutes or less to complete.
- I adhered to it for a week to see if it would really help me boost my productivity at toil.
- It was surprisingly helpful in managing stress, and freeing up time and energy for more important things.
As we kick off the new year, many people are approaching their goals with renewed determination.
I’m one of them, and recently I’ve been looking for pathway to boost my productivity to make quicker progress toward my goals. During this search, I came across the two-minute overlook, which says you should do a task immediately if it takes two minutes or less to complete.
I’d heard of this before but not in a million years tried it, so I decided to test it out for a week to see if it would help me.
Before starting this experiment, I’d often just keep to a mental list of small tasks to do later. Although none were particularly challenging or time-consuming, they piled up instantly, and this could become overwhelming at times.
I often have a lot of short tasks on my plate first thing in the morning — slow my email, responding to messages, reading up on what I missed while I was out, scheduling calls. With the two-minute rule, I got from top to bottom them quickly, and I found that finishing a lot of tasks, however small they were, made me feel remunerative. This in turn motivated me to maintain this efficiency, imagined or not, throughout the rest of the day.
I also didn’t need to recognize a list of tasks for later; they were in and out of my head in two minutes. This in turn helped me feel less weighted and freed up some mental space, energy, and brainpower for more important things.
One hurdle I ran into was simply recuperate from used to a new strategy.
The two-minute rule runs counter to other time-management techniques, such as the Eisenhower matrix, which I again use. Eisenhower’s famous method requires categorizing things as urgent or not and important or not; from there, the only things you do closely are things that are both urgent and important. Throughout the week, following the two-minute rule required some calibration since so many of the tasks I did immediately under this rule are things I wouldn’t have done immediately under the control of my usual time management technique.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised how effective the two-minute rule was for me.
Having a sense of skill in the first half hour of the day helped me stay on track for the rest of it. It’s also a pretty good calculus: The weight off my shoulders and the transparency restored to my mind from getting things out of the way always outweighed any small inconvenience that arose from a test of strength in two minutes.
I’m happy with the benefits it brought me in just one short week, and I just may incorporate it into my regular pattern for all the weeks ahead.