I learnt it from David Allen, a celebrated productivity expert, and it’s called The 2 Minute Rule.
Here’s how it works. Whenever a new task comes up (an email, a phone call, or a new To Do) you ask yourself one simple question.
Can I handle this in 2 minutes or less?
If you can, you do it immediately. If you can’t you write it on your list of things to do later.
Is that all there is to it? Yep, that’s all there is.
But you’ll be amazed at how following this one rule improves your business performance and your life. For a start, you will no longer have huge lists of things you need to get done. By doing tasks as they come up your To Do list will be halved. You also will rarely forget to do tasks, as you’ll either have done them immediately (if you can do them in under 2 minutes) or you’ll have them written down on a list. You’ll accomplish much more, much faster. You’re reputation at work will improve as you’ll become known for getting things handled quickly. And your feelings of control will increase – a well known cause of life satisfaction (see control/happiness research by either Martin Seligman or William Glasser).
The 2 Minute Rule is potentially life changing. And certainly business changing.
So try this exercise. Rank your current productivity with a mark out of 10. Then try The 2 Minute Rule for 5 business days, then re-rank your productivity.
If you usually give yourself a 6 out of 10 for efficiency I’ll wager you will lift that to an 8 out of 10.
The 2 Minute Rule is that powerful.