In this post about managing connectivity, I wrote about the ‘2 minute rule’. It’s from David Allen whose productivity approach – Getting Things Done (GTD) – I find very useful. Its how I process my emails. At times, I also use it when its quicker to do the task than it is to write a reminder or note.
“SUCCESS: Tell us about your two-minute rule.
David Allen:I have a two-minute rule that says: If you determine an action can be done in two minutes, you actually should do it right then because it’ll take longer to organize it and review it than it would be to actually finish it the first time you notice it. If you don’t avoid the question about what’s the next step, lots of two minute items could be done right then. <snip>
SUCCESS: This two-minute rule you talk about is one of the things that I’ve learned from you and use every day. You know, an e-mail lands in your inbox and you make a decision, is this something I can get done in two minutes? And if it is, just clear it out, do it, get it done, move on. If it’s not, then file it for chunks of time when you’re going to be focused on those kind of activities. Is that correct?
David Allen: Yes. You know, a lot of people have found that to be an absolutely powerful part of my book, Getting Things Done, and I think it’s not just the efficiency of getting rid of the two-minute things, it’s also not having to park it, look at it again and re-think it again. Get it out. Be like Teflon. Let it get out of there. I think it trains people to be making executive decisions about exactly what they need to do about stuff when it comes across. Is this something I can get done in two minutes? That question is actually tricking you into making an executive decision about what is the next thing that needs to happen and that’s really the training people need.”