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How to use the 2-minute rule to stop procrastinating


Procrastination is a human condition. Falling into bad habits, being lazy, and not utilising our time effectively is all down to our big brains and lack of hunting instinct. We’re not one-dimensional, we don’t share a hive mind, and we’re exceedingly good at feeding ourselves, which results in an aimlessness that only humans really suffer from. When all of our base needs are met, what else is there to strive for?

Well, due to the workplace hustle, plenty – hence the reason procrastination is such a nuisance when it rears its ugly head.

Thankfully, it merely requires a little discipline to overcome, which is why we’re going to take a look at one of the best reviewed hacks, what it is, and why it works.

The science behind the 2-minute rule

There are several ‘quick-fixes’ and ‘tricks’ on the market, but the 2-minute rule is one of the best reviewed strategies for overcoming procrastination. And why is that? Because it encourages habitual change.

The 2-minute rule, inspired by author David Allen, follows a simple rule: “When you want to start a new habit, it should take no more than 2-minutes to do.”

It’s about scaling down big picture goals into bite sized versions. So, if you want to start running, you simply put on your running shoes. If you want to study for an exam, you simply open your notebook. And if you want to clean the house, you simply wipe down one surface.

By starting new habits in this way and with this mindset, you are more likely to do that thing for longer. Doing the smaller stuff more consistently will rewire your brain and encourage longer term change. We’re more prone to giving up when we set ourselves unachievable challenges. We can’t run a marathon if we don’t even walk 500 steps a day.

How to implement the 2-minute rule

When you first start implementing the 2-minute rule, define your goals. Perhaps you want to:

You see how easy it is? These are small, achievable goals that are easy to complete and pressure-free. Introducing a new habit shouldn’t be stressful. It should make you want to keep doing it until it becomes second nature.

Still not convinced? Perhaps you’re worried your brain will know it’s being tricked? Well, set a timer for 2-minutes and stop whatever you’re doing straight away. That way, you’ve achieved your goal regardless. You can either carry on or do something else.

Try to see the 2-minute rule as a positive gateway drug to longer-term change. And remember – productivity is a mindset, not a personality trait. You’ve got this.


Originally published May 11, 2021 11:15:15 PM UTC. Updated May 11, 2021 11:18:00 PM UTC.