The Two Minute Rule – A Solution to Procrastination?

Looking to form healthy habits while short on time? Try using the two-minute rule – instead of putting aside tasks that take just two minutes to complete, do them immediately.  This way, you will easily get that feeling of accomplishment and your foot in the door to forming more complex habits. 

Procrastination is bound to show up in your life in one form or another. There are many reasons for this behaviour: the fear of making mistakes, underestimating the amount of work we have to do, or thinking that it’s just not worth it.  Either way, to procrastinate or not to procrastinate, big tasks are difficult.  That is what makes the two-minute rule so important. 

The two-minute rule is a brain hack to increase productivity.  The principle is simple – whenever you realize that something has to be done, think about how long it will take.  If you think it will take less than 2 minutes, just do it!  This method is easy and straightforward, but let’s break it down into habit-sized chunks.   

The first and most important part is active awareness.  That means constantly looking for tasks that need to be done and evaluating down to the very last second how much time it will take for it to be accomplished.  Do the tasks that take less than 2 minutes.  With repetition, proactively taking care of tasks as they come up will become your habit.  2 minutes is a breeze, even when you’re doing a chore.  You’ll feel great afterwards, and you just might come to enjoy it.   

You can even hack your brain into breaking down seemingly huge tasks into 2-minute sections.  Take for example, washing the dishes after every meal, or responding to emails as they come, or eating an apple – they all take just 2 minutes and form great habits over time.  Now you can take it a step further.  Once you’ve made washing the dish that you just used a habit, you can go on to wash a second dish, and then a third, and so on.  The same goes for your emails, but maybe not your apples.  These 2-minute habits are called gateway habits because they get your foot in the door towards establishing even better ones.  Begin the first 2 minutes of your journey today.  No more procrastinating!   

Check out these articles to learn more about the two-minute rule:

From A Life of Productivity
The Law of Attraction – Procrastination
From Organise My House – 2 Minute Rule

Author: Zac Lo 
Editor: Cathy Xie 
Researcher: Anosha Subramaniam