Remember the two-minute rule? In other words, “if there’s something you need to do that will take two minutes or less, do it right away”? It’s a real productivity boost that anyone can do right off the bat. But there’s something else the two minute rule can do for you.
Consider the difficulty of forming new habits.
It’s hard to change your behaviour, isn’t it? To be honest, any sort of change is difficult to achieve. People love familiar things; it’s much easier to do things that are routine. It doesn’t require much effort to do what you’re already used to doing. Now that’s a good thing, because you can do things faster. But, it can also be a bad thing, especially if those routines are actually bad habits.
Just like this. Let’s say you work from home, and want to start working each day at 9:00 AM promptly. You wake up at, say, 7:30. Next thing you do is take a quick shower, then prepare your morning cup of coffee and breakfast. Then, say you finish your morning routine at 8:59. You head to your home office, look at your to-do list, and take a seat in front of your PC. Then, the clock hits 9:00. Suddenly, you feel something heavy in your gut. It’s the day’s tasks, intimidating you from the corner of your desk. “There’s too many of them,” you tell yourself. Then, to fight that overwhelming feeling, you decide to type f-a-c and click on the first entry that your browser comes up with: “facebook.com”.
Scrolling through your news feed, seeing funny cat videos, and commenting on your friends’ photos of Paris and Amsterdam puts a big smile on your face. But then, you look at your clock; it reads 10:00. You’ve just wasted one hour on Facebook instead of actually taking care of what’s on your list.
This is the bad habit you want to break.
So, what if you did this instead? Once you’re sat at your desk, you glance at your to-do list and think, “Hmm. What’s something here I can do in just two minutes?” Let’s say your list goes like this:
1. Answer client’s e-mail about online purchasing system
2. Write a post about online payment methods on the site
3. Change colour scheme of the site
4. Install SSL certificates on the site
5. Replace the site’s theme with a mobile-responsive one
“Simple enough,” you figure. “I’ll answer the client’s email first.” So you get to your e-mail page and type away your response. After a minute and a half, you hit “send”, then you let out a big smile and raise your hands as you check #1 off your list. Good job!
Just get started with that one task, and the rest will flow smoothly.
That’s all it takes to get started on the new habit. After you’ve finished your first task, you’ll feel more motivated to finish the rest. All because you decided to do that task that took less than two minutes to finish.
Exciting, isn’t it? But of course, consistency is key. It will take some time before “starting work at excatly 9:00 AM” becomes automatic for you. You have to keep doing it every single workday, no matter how you feel. Remember, don’t trust your feelings.
If you feel like doing nothing, that’s exactly when you should do something.
And that’s how you use the two-minute rule to help you build good habits.
You might be wondering what other things are applicable to the two minute rule. Well, this infographic tells you a few of those things.
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