The Simplest Way To Hack Your Productivity In Under 2 Minutes – #8

Introduction: This will be a series about The 12 Most Important Productivity Habits. In each article only one habit will be discussed. This is to simplify reading and productivity. Focusing on one habit at a time allows for an effective practice. At the end of the series there will be a post summarizing all the productivity habits together.

Productivity Habit #8 – 2 Minute Rule : The Kickstarter

Don’t you want to be more productive in your life, and achieve your own goals and dreams? We all do, but sometimes being productive is something we may struggle with at times. I stumbled upon David Allen’s 2 minute rule, and was shocked by the result I had within minutes. [1]

After a few experiments, I added my own little twist to his rule and my productivity has never been higher.

David Allen is the best-selling author of Getting Things Done.

What David Allen has to say: I have a two-minute rule that says: If you determine an action can be done in two minutes, you actually should do it right then because it’ll take longer to organize it and review it than it would be to actually finish it the first time you notice it. If you don’t avoid the question about what’s the next step, lots of two minute items could be done right then. Now, there are many times that you have a next step that’s going to take longer amount of time, like drafting some big new spreadsheet. You wouldn’t want to do that in two minutes. It’s a good idea to keep a whole lot of little things to do when you get those strange little windows of time, like clean up old e-mails, or purge some of your files. There’s a lot of things around me to do when I get a weird little window of time and when I don’t have a lot of energy. Let’s say I finished a big phone call and I don’t have another one for seven minutes, I’m likely to just be cleaning spam out of my e-mails or you know purging a file, or perhaps going and getting a cup of coffee. [2]

The basis of this rule is:

  • If it takes less than two minutes, then start right away.

This rule is very simple and easy to follow.

Before the start of my day I check my goal list. Here I write what I have to do for the following day. Some days I look at my list, and I feel that I just can’t. I start thinking of the obstacles that I would have to overcome. I even start playing in my head how much time I will have to invest in order to complete my list. That’s when I use this rule. I added my own little twist to this rule. A twist that makes starting, which is the most difficult part, quite easy and effective.

I use this two minute rule to gain momentum. This momentum gives me a kick in the ass for when I procrastinate or am scared of just starting. Once I start, everything starts to flow together. It helps take away my negative thoughts and focuses on the doing.

If you can cross the street now, cross it. Don’t think about it, how, when and if. One foot in front of the other. That’s what this rule is all about.

The reasoning behind it

With every new goal or habit the hardest part is starting. We either look at the amount of work ahead, the obstacles and the time we have to invest. When you just look at these things it makes starting, the last thing you want to do.

That’s why we can use this rule to just start. No matter how big your goals, how large your habits, or how difficult your projects may seem, you can start in under 2 minutes.  That’s the twist.

Because once you start you will feel more inclined to continue. You will be immersed in your activity.

While writing this post, I just started. It took less than two minutes and now I’m a couple of hours in, and have written well over 1,000 words.

Take for example some habits or goals. Do you want to start exercising by running twice a week? It takes less than 2 minutes to put on your shoes and get out of the house. Now start running.

Do you want to start writing your massive 500 page book? Pick up the pen and start writing. It takes less than 2 minutes.

Forget the end result and use this a kickstarter for any new goal or habit.

Want to clean your desk? Start right now, and do it for 2 minutes. There’s no worst case scenario.

This is the ultimate kickstarter. It’s not about achieving your goals, it’s about starting them. Once you start, you’ve overcome the impossible.

You can think as long as you want about the end result or the outcome, but all of that doesn’t matter if you don’t start.

Do it now

Let’s try and apply this rule. It’s the only way to find out if it works for you.

Pick something you want to do, a habit or a goal, or anything else.

Start in 2 minutes, do it now.




Related: Productivity Habit – #12
Related: Productivity Habit – #11
Related: Productivity Habit – #10
Related: Productivity Habit – #9



  1. says

    Great post here, I’ve found by just starting on whatever I needed to do brings motivation and energy. We can’t wait to feel like doing what we should or need to do, we need to create the feelings we want by starting. Movement creates good feelings and the desire to keep going. Great principle!!!

    • says

      Great comment Dan! Thanks again for your contribution to the discussion.

      “We can’t wait to feel like doing what we should or need to do, we need to create the feelings we want by starting. Movement creates good feelings and the desire to keep going.”

      It seems I’m always agreeing with you haha! You caught the essence of this post which is to create the feelings you want by just starting.

      Once you start your movement you’ll have the desire and motivation to keep going!


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