How the Two-Minute Rule Can Help You Conquer Procrastination

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Now, that’s something we all deal with. Probably you wanted to even read this post later. Thank God you are here now. It’s estimated that 20% of people are chronic procrastinators. What’s worse? Procrastination can feel like a trap you can’t break out from.

Imagine this scenario: You have a deadline looming for a project that you’ve been putting off for weeks. You know you should start working on it, but you just can’t seem to motivate yourself. Instead, you browse social media, watch videos, or play games. “I’ll do it later when I feel more inspired or have more time,” you say. But deep down, you know that’s not true. You’re just procrastinating, and you hate yourself for it. Yet, you cannot seem to stop.

Sounds familiar? We’ve all been there. Many times, in fact. Unfortunately, procrastination can have serious consequences for your work, health, and happiness. Maybe you know this, but you still can’t break free from the habit.

I know a simple technique that can help you overcome procrastination and get things done. Let’s call it the two-minute rule.

What is the two-minute rule?

The two-minute rule was first established by David Allen in his book, Getting Things Done. It is a productivity strategy that breaks daunting tasks into simple, easy-to-do steps that can be completed in as little as two minutes.

You might be thinking: “Two minutes? That’s nothing! How can that make a difference?” Well, let me tell you a secret: two minutes is more than enough to start a habit, build momentum, and make progress.

The idea is to make your habits as easy as possible to start. Anyone can meditate for one minute, read one page, or put one item of clothing away. And once you’ve started doing the right thing, it is much easier to continue doing it.

The two-minute rule is not about finishing a task in two minutes; it’s about starting it. It’s about breaking the inertia of inaction and taking the first step. It’s about creating a gateway habit that leads you to a more productive path.

Benefits of the two-minute rule

The two-minute rule has many benefits for your productivity and well-being. Here are some of them:

  1. It serves as a stepping stone for you to accomplish larger tasks. The two-minute rule helps you break down big goals into manageable chunks that you can tackle one by one.
  2. Added motivation: By starting with the easiest part, you build momentum and motivation that carry over to the next part. You also reduce the mental resistance that often comes with starting something new or challenging.
  3. You’re rewarded with small wins that help you feel productive. Small wins create a positive feedback loop that reinforces your behaviour and makes you want to do more.

Using the Two-Minute Rule to Conquer Procrastination


Now that you know what the two-minute rule is and why it works, let’s see how you can use it to conquer procrastination and get things done.

Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Identify the tasks that you tend to procrastinate on. These are usually the ones that are boring, difficult, unclear, or unpleasant.
  2. Scale them down into two-minute versions. For example:
  • “Write a blog post” becomes “Write a sentence”.
  • “Clean the room” becomes “Fold your wrapper”.
  • “Exercise” becomes “Do one push-up”.
  1. Do the two-minute tasks as soon as they come up. Don’t put them off or make excuses. Just do them right away. You’ll be surprised by how much you can accomplish in two minutes.
  2. Use the two-minute tasks as a gateway to larger tasks. Once you’ve started, you’ll likely feel more motivated and engaged to continue. You can either extend the two-minute tasks or move on to the next ones. Either way, you’ll be making progress and avoiding procrastination.

Applying the Rule

Here are some examples of how the two-minute rule can help you conquer procrastination in different areas of your life:

  • Work: If you have a big project that you’ve been putting off, start by doing a two-minute task related to it, such as opening a document, writing an outline, or sending an email. This will help you overcome the initial inertia and get into the flow of work.
  • Health: If you want to improve your health but find it hard to stick to a routine, start by doing a two-minute exercise, such as stretching, jumping jacks, or squats. This will help you warm up your body and mind and prepare you for more intense workouts.
  • Learning: If you want to learn a new skill but feel overwhelmed by the amount of information, start by doing a two-minute lesson, such as watching a video, reading an article, or listening to a podcast. This will help you get familiar with the topic and spark your curiosity for more.
  • Hobbies: If you have a hobby that you enjoy but don’t have enough time for, start out with a two-minute session. This will help you reconnect with your passion and make room for more creativity in your life.

Taking Action

The two-minute rule is a simple but powerful way to stop procrastinating and start doing. By making your habits easy to start, you can overcome the barriers that hold you back and achieve your goals.

So what are you waiting for? Try the two-minute rule today and see how it can transform your life.

And if you need some help with managing your tasks and habits, check out Todoist, a great app that helps you organise your projects, track your progress, and stay motivated.

Happy two-minuting! 😉

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