The 2-Minute Rule Is the Simplest Way to Make Progress on Your Toughest Goals


Procrastination is a thief. It steals not just your time but also the essential things that you need to focus on. But who hasn’t been willingly victimized? Even the best of us did (or still do). 

While one can wait for the brainwaves to come crashing in or for that "spark of inspiration", there are responsibilities to follow through. What to do then? 

The 2-minute rule can be your answer.


Atomic Habits

James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, said, “When you start a new habit, it should take less than 2 minutes to do. You’ll find that nearly any habit can be scaled down into a 2-minute version.”


He was actually talking about the 2-minute rule, which was first proposed in the book, “Getting Things Done” by productivity consultant David Allen.


How the 2-Minute Rule Works

The 2-minute rule works on two basic theories. First is starting with tasks that take less than 2 minutes to complete will help you manage your workload better.

Second is incorporating the 2-minute rule as a habit should make it easier to follow.


This rule is summarized as if doing a task will take less time than processing it, organizing it in your lists and tracking it timely, it is much more efficient to do it the first time it is in your hands. This simply means, do it right away.

Let us look into the two basic theories:


Starting With Tasks That Take Less Than 2 Minutes to Complete.

James Clear’s version on this suggested that any habit could be scaled down into a 2-minute version. Like “read before bed each night” will become “read one page before bed each night.” For freelancers, it can be “start writing that piece” becomes “write ideas as they pop.” Then it will become easier to accomplish the whole task.


Writers tend to have a lot of tormentors – the first one is always how to create a good starting line. I guess that’s always the hardest for every writer, and then of course how to wind it up. These two are what leads to procrastination.


Making It a Habit

It takes more than three weeks to form a habit. Studies show that it takes actually 66 days. That's why it's so hard to stick to form one. Check this video to understand how to create a habit.


That's the aim of the 2-minute rule: to make it bite-size enough even without the perfect conditions to move forward. You need not be overly focused on that end goal, take small steps at a time. 

Don’t be concerned with making it perfect the first time, just make sure you’ve established some habits, some routine or system that enables you to move forward. You can always improve it later.

As they say, do it often and it becomes a habit. And what better way than to apply it towards achieving something worthwhile?



There you have it. Incorporate the 2-minute habit in your life and watch how you slowly reach your goals. Good luck!


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