Fans of David Allen’s Getting Things Done system (and the updated Making It All Work system) are familiar with his advice to immediately act on a task that requires less than two minutes to complete. It seems obvious, especially in a work setting, to follow this two-minute rule, but just because it’s obvious doesn’t mean that it happens.
It is so easy to think, “I’ll get to that later,” and let whatever the action is fall through the cracks. It doesn’t get written down on your list of next actions, it isn’t delegated to anyone else, and it slips right out of your mind. (At least that is how it works with me when I procrastinate.) You forget about it until someone comes seeking your response again, wasting your and the other person’s time.
I try to hold true to the two-minute “Do it now” policy at work, and an extended five-minute “Do it now” policy at home. Home-related tasks, in my opinion, seem to take a bit longer than office tasks. Unloading the dishwasher is a simple five-minute task that can be delayed if I don’t remind myself to “Do it now.” Clearing diner dishes, putting away items after getting ready in the morning, and dumping a load of laundry into the washer all seem to take about five minutes.
Do you use the two-minute “Do it now” policy at work? Have you tried a five-minute “Do it now” system at home? If you haven’t, I recommend giving it a try and watching your productivity improve.