The 2-Minute Rule Will Make Getting Through Your To-Do List Actually Possible

NickyLloyd/Getty Images

To some extent, we’re all procrastinators. But look, this isn’t anything to feel bad about—it makes total sense! Why wouldn’t we put off annoying tasks like answering emails, folding laundry, scheduling doctor’s appointments and paying bills? They’re...not fun. Unfortunately, those niggling to-dos do have to get done and the longer you delay, the more onerous the task will be.

That’s where the two-minute rule comes in. This simple strategy was coined by David Allen in his productivity book, Getting Things Done and aims to nix procrastination for good.

Here’s how it works: If you can do a task in two minutes or less, then you should do it now (and don’t delay).

This rule is easy to accomplish (it literally only takes two minutes) but can have a big impact.

For example, if you spend two minutes a day tidying your bedroom, then you won't need to do a huge clean-up come Sunday. If you tend to your houseplants for two minutes a day, then you won't be staring at dried-up crusty leaves at the end of the week. If you spend two minutes each day filing your work expenses, then you won't have a headache at the end of the month, and so on and so on.

Because here’s the thing about procrastination—the longer you put something off, the harder it feels to accomplish it. But more often than not, the task at hand is actually very simple (albeit kind of annoying) to do. So with that in mind, it just makes sense to take your feelings out of the equation and get whatever you need to get done, done ASAP.

So the next time you have an annoying chore or activity to do, simply ask yourself: Could I get this done in two minutes or less? If the answer is yes, then go ahead and tackle the task at hand. Trust us—your future self will thank you.

Dating (or Married To) a Procrastinator? Here's 4 Things You Should Never Say No Matter How Much You Want To