The 2-Minute Rule
A couple years ago I read a great book that had this amazing and practical bit of advice for overcoming procrastination :: If you decide that something can be done in 2 minutes, you should do it right then, because it will take longer to organize and review the action (even if it’s in your head) than it would take to actually accomplish it.
For example, I know every morning that I need to make my bed, but each time I think of it, I can think of 20 things that are more important. The rule suggests making my bed the first time I have the thought, because otherwise I’ll spend more than two minutes stressing about it in my head throughout the morning! (If the action will take longer than two minutes, make yourself a reliable note and come back to it later.) David Allen says,
A lot of people procrastinate because they don’t know what their next action should be. When you actually make the determination of what to do next, when you say, ‘Oh wait a minute, you know, I could do that pretty fast,’ that’s when you make progress. It might be surf the Web to get a piece of information, or it could be pick up the phone and leave a message for your sister on her voicemail…
More than anything else, this rule has helped me get more things done throughout my day. I mean, we all know the feeling of dreading a chore so much that we put it off, but once we settle down and do it, it takes way less time than we expected. And of course, we wish we would’ve done it sooner so that we wouldn’t have spent all that time worrying about it. (I did this once to an epic degree…)
What do you think? Do you like David Allen’s advice? Any good tips of your own to stop procrastinating? How do you handle time-management?
(Photo by Sebastien Toulouse)