The Kaizen Blog

Attempts to continually improve in all walks of life

GTD: Two Minute Rule

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I always keep reading about the famous “Two minute Rule”. Personally for me, it was the second most import thing I learnt from the GTD. (First one being, write down everything). Let me explain to you how I use this to help improve the productivity.

First lets clear this misconception that two minutes doesn’t always mean two minutes on the clock. It is more of a guideline. Actual time needed may be slightly more or less. (I would say upto 5 minutes is OK) It is meant to suggest that you should finish a task right then and there itself, if it is something that can be done quickly. If you need more data or help from others, assign a category and work on it later.

But how does one define quickly, because that too is subjective. (Hence the two minute guideline) Personally for me, if I have all the information I need to finish the task, and if I can determine that if I can finish it quicker than assigning category and revisiting it later, then I just finish the task.  Some of the following examples might help you understand this better.

The Two minute Tasks

  • Email reminder, for things you are waiting for.
  • Replying emails seeking yes/no answer  or confirmation
  • Moving emails to Archive folder
  • Deleting emails you know you don’t need
  • Schedule a meeting (This at time may take longer if you need to book a conference room or other resource)
  • Bookmark an important information
  • Reminders to self (add an entry in calendar)
  • Complement others : Really, it takes just few minutes, can be done right away, and it very important thing to do.

Following Tasks do not fit well into the two minute rule. You may have all the data you need, even then these activities will take longer.

  • Filling tax returns
  • Summarize the reports
  • Upgrade the OS 🙂 (Even when you have all the OS and driver disks)

These lists are by no means a complete list, even for my own activities. But it should give you an idea.

Please let me know in comments what tasks do you consider to fit the The Two minute rule ?

Image courtesy Leo Reynolds (cc)


Written by Mandar Vaze

May 26, 2008 at 11:34 pm

Posted in GTD, Productivity

Tagged with ,

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