The list of tasks usually contains relatively simple jobs to do, but the combination of multiple assignments sometimes creates hurdles hard to overcome. You know how it is to feel overwhelmed when even a typical task such as drafting an e-mail, making an appointment, or ordering goods is beyond your ability. If you have problems with a constantly growing list of tasks, and you see that procrastination becomes an issue try the 2 minutes rule.

2 minutes rule – table of contents:

  1. What is a 2 minutes rule?
  2. Small projects divide into small steps
  3. 2 minutes rule in practice
  4. 2 minutes rule for communication
  5. The benefits of 2 minutes rule
  6. 2 minutes rule and habits building
  7. Blocks of time
  8. Summary

What is a 2 minutes rule?

The 2 minutes rule is a method of effective use of time, that was described in the book by David Allen entitled: Getting Things Done. It is one of the components of his methodology, but simple enough that it can be put into practice with no previous preparation. The simplicity is the behind the phenomenon of this method.

Perhaps, initially, the method will seem too simple. The fact is that, despite appearances, small tasks, not huge projects, can distract and make it impossible to focus. The introduction of this rule can help you to practice doing things immediately. Thanks to this the tasks will not accumulate on the list and create heaps of unbelievable sizes.

A simple task made immediately does not use much of our energy, but it can increase the level of satisfaction that every finished and ticked-off task brings. Additionally, it frees our minds from thoughts and allows focusing on important projects.

If you start putting those small, simple tasks aside and postpone them you may reach the point that there will be too many of them to do, and you may even start to feel apprehension before even trying to do them. The solution to this problem is easy. Do all simple, small tasks right away.

It is worth remembering that the author himself emphasizes the flexibility of this method. 2 minutes don’t necessarily mean that you have to measure tasks with the timer in your hand. The 2 minutes needed for a task are to remind you that many simple tasks can take up only several minutes. There is no difference if it is 2 or 5 minutes.

2 minutes rule

Small projects divide into small steps

The 2 minutes rule can be used in many ways. There is a lot about the utilization of the rule to perform short and simple tasks such as email drafting, and phone calls, but the rule may be applied for more ambitious projects. How? Every huge task can be divided into smaller steps. Thanks to this, the demanding, scary project, changes into a list of specific, tangible, and simple tasks to do. Such modification can help you to start the project without the feeling of being overwhelmed.

The 2 minutes rule in practice

No matter if you spend your day in the office or at home, your day is a list of tasks to do. Below we present several examples of activities to which the 2 minutes rule can be applied. Those are just examples, but they can help with the identification of your everyday tasks.

Some tasks are being postponed for various reasons. Those activities cannot be avoided in the long run. Sooner or later somebody will have to do them. It is better to do them at once. One of those tasks is washing dishes. And it is better to wash dishes immediately after the meal. The same applies to taking out the garbage, walking the dog, or doing other simple household chores. The 2 minutes rule will help you to save time and release the energy needed for more important assignments.

2 minutes rule

2 minutes rule for communication

When during your work your receive an e-mail, you tend to open and read it immediately. Then this is all you do because you remind yourself about the important, current task, and you decide to respond later. There is no better time than now, hence if you know the content of an email and you have spent your time reading it – respond immediately. Don’t wait especially if the message is easy, and doesn’t require any greater effort.

Thanks to this, you will be sure that you won’t forget about it. A similar situation is with the phone calls and messages to pass to your colleagues. The introduction of this rule is a great solution for people, who don’t like to talk over the phone. Postponing and procrastination never help. It is better to do things straight away.

The benefits of 2 minutes rule

Many techniques have the same goal – better time management. The biggest benefit of 2 minutes rule is the fact, that there is no system involved. You don’t have to prepare yourself, you don’t have to possess any system or application. The rule is simple – act at once.

One 2 minutes task is not a problem, but the whole list of small tasks creates a feeling of heaviness that is difficult to fight. Additionally, during the day the lists become longer and longer with all the new assignments, activities, and duties. This sucks up the energy and prevents from focusing.

The usage of 2 minutes rule not only reduces stress levels but increases satisfaction. The realization of even the simplest task gives you the feeling of agency and brings the energy needed for the realization of another task.

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2 minutes rule and habits building

Using the method not only helps you to form a habit of performing the activity immediately, but it may be a good method for the introduction of new, effective habits. There are moments when we want to do something for ourselves: start a new language course, introduce a book reading routine, or start exercising, but it seems that we don’t have enough time for this.

2 minutes set aside per day doesn’t sound bad, right? Perhaps it is a good step to start a new journey and build a new habit. It may turn out that, with time, you will extend the time for your new practice, but the 2 minutes rule is here to help you to move on at the beginning and overcome procrastination.

Blocks of time

A short task that takes only 2 minutes is usually easy to do. They may take up much of your time if there is a lot of them. What if there is a huge, important project that has to be finished on time, and requires your special attention? Not all of your activities can be divided into small chunks or steps.

Some duties require deep focus and concentration. If you deal with such a project try to block your time. Time blocking allows you to concentrate on one task for the whole duration of the ascribed time. Don’t stop working until the job is finished. Repetitive breaks in the process lower the ability to concentrate and make your work less efficient.


The 2 minutes rule is useful when you are working on activities that require a lot of concentration and focus. Instead of trying to do it all at once, the rule encourages people to break it down into smaller chunks, which can help them get more done in less time. This rule can be applied to any task or activity that you need to do.

For example, if you have a lot of emails to write, it would be better if you start with emails that require less time and effort. This way, you will not get tired and end up procrastinating on those more difficult tasks later on. The 2 minutes rule is a productivity hack that can be used to make sure that you are not wasting time on tasks that you don’t have to do. It is a tool for self-control.

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Author: Andy Nichols

A problem solver with 5 different degrees and endless reserves of motivation. This makes him a perfect Business Owner & Manager. When searching for employees and partners, openness and curiosity of the world are qualities he values the most.