Today I found myself going to my diary and writing a note for later in the week to get something done that had just cropped up unexpectedly.
Now, usually this system works really well for me because it ensures I get to everything I need to do in a timely way. This time however, was different.
The job I was writing down was a 2 minute job – and that’s where the issue was…
It made me remember a great tip I read a while back from productivity expert David Allen in his book GETTING THINGS DONE** – where he states that if something will take you 2 minutes or less to do you should do it there and then.
AND NOW I UNDERSTAND WHY THIS RULE MAKES SO MUCH SENSE…
2 minutes – 120 seconds – probably how long it took me to go over to my diary, work out when I needed to do the task by, and write it down in the right place.
Instead of doing that, I could have actually done the task and it wouldn’t have needed writing down at all.
I would have saved myself a lot of extra time and effort by just getting it done there and then.
I wouldn’t have had to write it down in my diary, I wouldn’t have had to have it on my mind as another thing to do in an already busy day, and I would have completed the task as quickly as possible so that I could move on.
It’s a way to increase productivity really effectively, and for very little hassle.
So I made a commitment to myself at that moment, and I wanted to see if you were up for joining me in this today…
From now on – if anything will take me 2 minutes or less – I WILL do it there and then.
After all – there is always 2 minutes to spare pretty much, it’s a really insignificant amount of time but can make all the difference to how much we get through each day.
Imagine how much more productive we could become!
To get started, here are some 2 minute jobs that would work best when done there and then: –
- Respond to a form from work / school
- Address and stamp a letter / card
- Write a cheque
- Text a friend some information
- Empty a bin
- Tidy a shelf
- Quick scan of the food in the fridge
- Put clothes away
- Make the bed
- Straighten a room
- Wipe a surface
Some of these tasks are admin type tasks and some are cleaning. Both work really well but for different reasons.
Admin tasks take time to get your head into what you need to do – and you usually need things to be able to complete them. Usually when you open your post and read it once, your head is in the right frame of mind to deal with it. If you put it down to deal with another day then you have to get your head back into that focus again which can take extra time.
Cleaning tasks can be done in and around your usual daily routine pretty easily but if they are left then the task of tidying and cleaning the house becomes a much larger burden that needs you to find a large chunk of time to get it all done.
See how doing a few small tasks each day there and then, and not putting them off, can help you over and over again! Perfect!
TIPS TO MAKE THE 2 MINUTE RULE WORK FOR YOU
- Make things accessible where you need them to be as you don’t want to waste time searching for them (your cheque book, a pen, stamps, cleaning kit etc…)
- Don’t overthink whether you should do it there and then – just GET IT DONE
- Look for jobs! – When you leave a room, scan it to see if things are in the right place, for example.
- Only ever do this when you are not already in the middle of something that needs your full concentration. Multi tasking at this point doesn’t work at all and lowers productivity which is the exact opposite of what you want to happen. It will also serve to distract you too much and you may not get back to the more important job you were actually doing (a really good reason not to open your post until you have time to deal with it).
2 minutes is no time at all – but it can make such a powerful difference to what you can get done each day, and what you don’t have to schedule in another day as well.
Try it with me and see if you can increase productivity as a result…. I’m sure your TO DO list and diary will thank you for it!
P.S. The next step for this type of productivity challenge is to see what other time gaps you can make work harder for you – and that’s where my 5 minute list idea comes in – take a look right HERE.