The 2 Minute Rule Productivity Hack
As we all try to orient ourselves in our new COVID-19 Quarantine reality, the idea of work and productivity will be redefined. For many of us, we separated work from home life – had large periods of time to get projects done, and had large uninterrupted stretches of time if we demanded it. That’s done, and we must now adapt to our home office being THE office, and to stealing time in-between getting interrupted by children. It’s never been more critical for us to make the most of the time we have.
There’s a silver lining in all this: Many of us saved an extra hour or two on travel time AND gained the motivation to get our home offices sorted and arrange functional virtual operation with our teams. When there seems like a mountain of things to do and little time to do it, managing your time effectively and doing the critical things first is essential.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be brushing your teeth in the morning with 1000 things you need to do that day swirling around in your head. The problem is that by the time you finish your morning routine and sit down to work, you’re not really sure what to do first, or keep getting side-tracked. Even though many of the tasks you need to do aren’t particularly difficult, it can be hard to sustain attention when there are unrelated things that get triggered by your environment all the time.
I present to you: the 2 Minute Rule by David Allen, Author of Getting Things Done
The answer is simple: Capture every task in writing that is on your mind.
Take your pen and paper and give yourself at least one solid hour to do a complete and total Capture of all the “incomplete” things that are nagging at your attention… anything that you “should” or “ought” to do counts as an “Incomplete”. This list should be exhaustive of every single task, big or small, short-or-long term – things like “change laundry room light bulb” and “send email to Craig re: Conference Postponement”, “Implement Content Management Software”, “national company expansion”, absolutely everything.
If you want to start off smaller, simply capture all the things you can do that day (Within your environment: i.e. things to do at my computer, or things to do in the back yard” etc.)
Now is the fun part: the clarifying phase. Go through these items and see what you can get DONE and scratched off your list. There are 3 options for this phase.
1) Do It in 2 minutes or less – this will either result in the task being complete, or at least the first next action step towards that being accomplished. Can you write that email right now? Take that garbage out right now? Google search the best Content Management Software? The key here is ACTION.
2) Delegate it if it will take more than 2 minutes, and/or if someone else might be better suited towards it. This process of delegation should take just 2 minutes and it serves as a check-mark too!
3) Defer It. Take the same 2 minutes to put it in your calendar for a time that you will do the first next action steps required towards that objective.
You can try this right now. Do it! Once the 2 minute rule is implemented you’ll be able to fully maximize the time you have available – think of everything you can do in just 20 minutes! The best part is that you will have a clearer head and the feeling of accomplishment over a job well done.