Mastering Productivity: The solution to procrastination
The 2 minute rule
Do you recall that book you've been meaning to read or that critical document that you must write for your staff, yet you're putting it off because you don’t enjoy it enough for you to prioritize it?
Well, here’s a rule that you can use to solve this:
If the task you’re procrastinating takes less than 2 minutes to complete: you just need to do it right away. This is more efficient than putting it off and reviewing it later.
If the task takes more than 2 minutes to complete, you should scale it down to a 2-minute version. For example:
‘Reading every night’ becomes 'Reading one page’
‘Writing that critical document’ becomes ‘Opening up the document and writing down the title’
‘Running 5 miles’ becomes ‘putting on your running shoes’
The idea is to make starting as easy as possible. Starting a new task should not feel like a challenge. The actions that follow can be challenging, but the first two minutes should be easy.
The 2-minute task simply acts as a ‘gateway task’ to the bigger task at hand. This rule will lead you to a more productive life.
James Clear (author of Atomic Habits) wrote an excellent blog article about how this applies to starting new habits in which he goes over:
Why this works
And what to do if it feels like a trick