Have you ever seen a small child at Christmas or on a birthday
open present and after present and then be disappointed once the stack is all opened? Need an example or a reminder…? Check this out.
It’s as if the anticipation of opening the present was more exciting than the actual item inside. This is how many people approach their email.
They open their Inbox and they open all the new emails in hope of finding one that’s ‘fun’ or ‘easy to handle’. But what usually happens? They’re not fun, they are not easy to handle and by the end of the new emails, they feel frustrated and deflated. Plus they now have a whole stack of stuff to deal with that they’ve wasted energy and precious time on already!
But what if they applied the concept of the 2-minute rule?
Apply this rule
Coined by David Allen in his book ‘Getting Things Done‘, the two-minute rule states that “If an action will take less than two minutes, it should be done at the moment it’s defined.”
For email’s sake, we’re going to push out Allen’s rule to 10-minutes (a rule that the UK parliament has in place).
The next time you open your email, rather than handling an email multiple times, you’re going to apply the 10-minute rule. If it’s something that can be dealt with in under 10 minutes, you do it now. If it’s something that will take longer than 10 minutes, you decide on the next step and put it in your calendar at a time when you will take care of it.
Why apply it?
Why do these techniques work well in terms of productivity?
- Getting started is sometimes the hardest thing, this method creates momentum from the get-go of your day
- It removes the pressure of perfectionism, manufacturing urgency in ourselves can often ensure we get a lot done in a short amount of time
- Helps you build a new habit of attacking tasks head-on rather than letting them become a fixture on your list
The Ten Minute rule is easy and repeatable, touch something once and either be done with it or know when you will be working on it. Is this something you do already or could do more of in the future?