Getting the Routine Work Done
Episode #6 of the course How to be more productive by Dan Silvestre
Yesterday, we learned a very powerful productivity hack called the Pomodoro technique. Working in short bursts of 25 minutes without any interruptions lets you concentrate on the task at hand and perform deep work.
Unfortunately, there are still some tasks we need to do that we don’t really want to. They don’t necessarily move the needle on important projects but are a part of everyday life. Things like replying to an email or writing a weekly report can be daunting tasks, and we usually try to postpone them until it’s too late.
Everyone knows procrastination all too well. It’s a chronic cycle: slacking, hiding from work, doing unimportant tasks, putting it off—and then the loop repeats.
So, why do we procrastinate?
Maybe you are a perfectionist. You keep telling yourself you need the latest equipment, be in the best mood, or the sun needs to be shining from the east. Or you’re avoiding the task because you are not organized and prioritize low-value work. Whatever the reason, this awesome hack will teach you how to stop procrastinating and get things done instead. It’s called the “Two-Minute Rule,” and it helps you get rid of a ton of unimportant things from your to-do list so you can focus your time on finishing the most important ones.
There are two parts to the two-minute rule.
Part 1: If it can be done in two minutes, just do it.
If a task takes less than two minutes of your time, do it right away. Don’t add it to your to-do list. Don’t put it aside for later. And don’t delegate it to someone else. Just do it. The time that it takes for you to write it down/add it to your to-do manager and the clutter that it adds to your mind is not worth it.
Here are a few examples of tasks you can do in two minutes or less:
• Answer an email from your boss/coworker.
• Come up with a few blog ideas.
• Send an update to a colleague.
• Make a plan for the day while having your morning coffee.
• Take out the trash.
• Load the dishwasher right after the meal.
There are a ton of tiny, seemingly trivial tasks that take less than two minutes, yet you need to do them EVERY DAY.
Part 2: If it takes more than two minutes, start it and continue doing for at least two minutes.
Once you take an action on any two-minute task, you will feel better equipped to work on even bigger tasks because of the sense of momentum you’ve built.
• Want to write a thousand words every day? Write 50 words in the next two minutes.
• Want to meditate for 20 minutes a day? Sit down and meditate for two minutes.
• Want to exercise for one hour a day? Do jumping jacks for just two minutes.
Once you start acting on small tasks, you can keep the ball rolling.
Simply working on it for two minutes will help you break the first barrier of procrastination. For me, nine times out of ten, it leads to working on the task for far longer than two minutes (I then continue working using the Pomodoro productivity hack).
Incorporate this simple hack into your life and start developing a habit. It will make you stop procrastinating and start getting things done instead.
And tomorrow, we will go one step further: We will find an easy way to do the things you hate, using a scientific approach.
I’ll see you then.
To a Productive Day!
The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy by Chris Bailey
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