The two minute rule

the two minute rule to get shit done // a thousand threads
It’s no secret around here that I’m a list maker… an organizer with a penchant for itineraries and planners and 40 different apps to schedule my day. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

But this one little rule might be so brilliant as to shatter just the tiniest bit of a corner of my list-loving regime.

I’ve heard the tip before, but applied to email, and for some silly reason I never thought to apply it to everything else. Essentially, the rule is that if you think of something you need to do that would take two minutes or less, do it right then. Don’t wait, because all of that planning and organizing and putting it on your list will take longer than the task itself. Not only will you save time, but you’ll get the productivity ball rolling in the right direction.

What do you think? Is this something you already do? Or, if you’re a list-maker like me, would you consider making an exception for the two minute rule?

Photo by Sharon Radisch.


  1. Posted April 30, 2014 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I get how this would help with productivity, but I don’t know if the obsessive list-maker in me could skip writing something down and the subsequent satisfaction of crossing it off. Even if it was just a small two-minute task.

    • Laicie
      Posted May 1, 2014 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      Haha Whitney I totally get you there. I’ve even written things on my list after the fact just to cross them off. I think it’s okay as long as you’re quick. šŸ˜‰

  2. Posted April 30, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I’m a list maker too, but I would definitely make an exception for the two minute rule! On my way home, I always make an ordered list of what I need to do, usually ranked by how urgent something is. However, when I get home, I use the list more as guideline and allow myself leeway. I make lists, because they allow me to visualize the work I need to do, which makes everything seem more manageable. If it weren’t for lists, I would never get started with work, because I’d just be worrying about how impossible the task seems to be! Also, after accomplishing something, even if it only takes two minutes, I feel productive, which puts me in a good mood, and which motivates me to keep rolling with the momentum I’ve gathered! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

    • Laicie
      Posted May 2, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      100% agree, there’s something so satisfying (and motivating) about having a list. šŸ™‚

  3. Posted April 30, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Oh Dear, this is me. I’ve started to change my ways recently and feeling so much better for it: I’m actually subtracting from my list, instead of adding to it!

    Sophie x

    • Laicie
      Posted May 2, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      That’s awesome!!

  4. Posted April 30, 2014 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    John and I have implemented a 20 minute clean up rule, and I try to tackle little things quickly, but being more intentional about it would probably do wonders!

    • Laicie
      Posted May 2, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      SUCH a good idea!

  5. Posted April 30, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    i’ve never heard of this rule, but lately i’ve been following something like it in regards to cleaning the house. makes the toys easier to put away at the end of the day!

    • Laicie
      Posted May 2, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Such a good idea! We always clean our kitchen after a meal, it makes it easier to keep up with. But the rest could probably use some work. šŸ˜‰

  6. Posted April 30, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I call it the “2 or 10 minute tidy”. Similarly to Lena, I take a few minutes each day to either get normal tasks done (wiping down the kitchen, cleaning up the bedroom), but I also use that time to finally send off that email, or clean out old paperwork. Great thoughts and always a good reminder!

    • Laicie
      Posted May 2, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Perfect idea!! I especially need to apply it to my old paperwork. šŸ™‚ That’s the worst to organize.

  7. Posted May 1, 2014 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    This is such a great tip. I find that little jobs fill so much head space but this way they wont have chance to! Thanks šŸ™‚ xoxo

    • Laicie
      Posted May 2, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Exactly!! I’ll obsess over them for days, I can’t imagine how much time I waste. Thanks for stopping by, Lucy!!

  8. Posted May 1, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I love this idea. Going to try it out. I’m assuming if it takes more than 2 minutes it’s ok to write it on your list?

    • Laicie
      Posted May 1, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      Totally! I definitely would. šŸ˜‰

One Trackback

  • By May flowers | A Thousand Threads on May 2, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    […] each and every place where we’ll be staying on our trip to Ireland, tackled some serious 2-minute tasks I’ve been putting off for a while, and I dare say you guys (close your ears if you […]

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