The Two-Minute Rule

I’m a big self-help junkie and there honestly isn’t a lot that I feel I have taken action and eventually has stuck. Usually it’s a lot of “should”ing about random things in my life that in hindsight is not that big of a deal. Or it’s stuff that makes a real difference but is really hard[1], which means a lot more work.

But one thing has amazingly made it through this filter in the background, being both successful and impactful in my life: the Two-Minute Rule from Getting Things Done.

It’s simple and has been tossed around in a zillion different books by a billion different people under just as many names (thirty-second rule, five-minute rule). Essentially, if it takes less that two minutes to do, do it now. It’s so easy and honestly is such a small time investment, it somehow just happened for me. And even better, when something does fall through the cracks even though I know it will only take a couple of minutes, this now means something. It means that this task or to-do has some emotional weight that I need to deal with, and at least I’ve made it easier to see this and now actionable.

The thing that I like most about this is that it’s not about ““getting things done” (particularly for the sake of getting things done, which is the worst), it’s about closing open loops. I realized I ran around all day seeing these open loops and it weighted me down: a dirty dish, unopened mail, a difficult email, etc. Using this rule helps with the toughest part of completing these difficult tasks: starting.


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