How to Stop Procrastinating by Using the “2-Minute Rule”

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stop procrastinatingRecently, I’ve been following a simple rule that is helping me crush procrastination and making it easier for me to stick to good habits at the same time.

I want to share it with you today so that you can try it out and see how it works in your life.

The best part? It’s a simple strategy that couldn’t be easier to use.

Here’s what you need to know to stop procrastinating once and for all…

How to Stop Procrastinating With the “2–Minute Rule”

I call this little strategy the “2–Minute Rule” and the goal is to make it easier for you to get started on the things you should be doing.

Here’s the deal…

Most of the tasks that you procrastinate on aren’t actually difficult to do — you have the talent and skills to accomplish them — you just avoid starting them for one reason or another.

The 2–Minute Rule overcomes procrastination and laziness by making it so easy to start taking action that you can’t say no.

There are two parts to the 2–Minute Rule…

Part 1 — If it takes less than two minutes, then do it now.

Part I comes from David Allen’s bestselling book, Getting Things Done.

It’s surprising how many things we put off that we could get done in two minutes or less. For example, washing your dishes immediately after your meal, tossing the laundry in the washing machine, taking out the garbage, cleaning up clutter, sending that email, and so on.

If a task takes less than two minutes to complete, then follow the rule and do it right now.

Part 2 — When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do.

Can all of your goals be accomplished in less than two minutes? Obviously not.

But, every goal can be started in 2 minutes or less. And that’s the purpose behind this little rule.

It might sound like this strategy is too basic for your grand life goals, but I beg to differ. It works for any goal because of one simple reason: the physics of real life.

The Physics of Real Life

As Sir Isaac Newton taught us a long time ago, objects at rest tend to stay at rest and objects in motion tend to stay in motion. This is just as true for humans as it is for falling apples.

The 2–Minute Rule works for big goals as well as small goals because of the inertia of life. Once you start doing something, it’s easier to continue doing it. I love the 2–Minute Rule because it embraces the idea that all sorts of good things happen once you get started.

Want to become a better writer? Just write one sentence (2–Minute Rule), and you’ll often find yourself writing for an hour.

Want to eat healthier? Just eat one piece of fruit (2–Minute Rule), and you’ll often find yourself inspired to make a healthy salad as well.

Want to make reading a habit? Just read the first page of a new book (2–Minute Rule), and before you know it, the first three chapters have flown by.

Want to run three times a week? Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, just get your running shoes on and get out the door (2–Minute Rule), and you’ll end up putting mileage on your legs instead of popcorn in your stomach.

The 2–Minute Rule isn’t about the results you achieve, but rather about the process of actually doing the work. The focus is on taking action and letting things flow from there.

The most important part of any new habit is getting started — not just the first time, but each time. It’s not about performance, it’s about consistently taking action. This is especially true in the beginning because there will be plenty of time to improve your performance later on.

For more ideas on making it easier to get started and about the importance of focusing on the process and not the result, read this article and this one.

Try It Now

I can’t guarantee whether or not the 2–Minute Rule will work for you. But, I can guarantee that it will never work if you never try it.

The problem with most articles you read, podcasts you listen to, or videos you watch is that you consume the information but never put it into practice.

I want this article to be different. I want you to actually use this information, right now.

What’s something you can do that will take you less than two minutes? Do it right now.

Anyone can spare the next 120 seconds. Use this time to get one thing done. Go.

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This post originally appeared on JamesClear.com
  • http://www.johnrmeese.com/p/about-me.html John Meese

    Great advice! I started following this rule myself recently after I heard of it from Michael Hyatt. Great personal results.

    • jaen

      My Uncle Adrian just got an almost new red Audi Q7 by working parttime from a home pc. blog here

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  • Goldsharc

    We’ll see, maybe I’ll try it tomorrow.. ^^

    • troll

      tomorrow *chuckles*

  • http://writespeaksell.com jeannettepaladino

    Actually, I’ve been procrastinating about revising content for a brochure. Signing off and starting now!

  • heatherziccardi

    I have to agree with you, most things that we leave to do to later take very little to no time to complete and yet some people would rather leave it to later and then all those little things pile up and before you know it there is a huge list of little things that need to get done. I used to be this way with leaving laundry in the dryer. Then one day I opened the dryer to find it yet full of clean wrinkled clothes but still needed to fill it with wet clothes fresh from the wash and I said that was it!! Now I set a timer and be sure to fold the clothes when they are done and now there are no surprises when I go to transfer the laundry. Much better to just get it out of the way. Good postm thanks!

  • http://www.twoodo.com/ Andrea Francis

    That’s a pretty sweet rule – especially for the sceptics that think “I’ll never change”. It gives me the sense of unlimited possibility.

  • lisa

    thi

  • wise skies

    This actually helped! For example, Now if I have a plate in my room, instead of moving it out of the way to take it downstairs “later” I take it immediately. Or even putting away the dishes, it only takes me 2 minutes.

  • C.J Milburn

    Awesome tips. It’s so true that when you start writing for 2 minutes you just keep going! Thanks for sharing http://goo.gl/FdP6L7

  • curry

    I will read this paper tomorrow. I promise. Aw, dammit!

  • http://twitter.com/theirmind theirmind

    Wanted to write to write, do not care, “That two minutes.”

  • Aimee Ebron

    This actually helps. If nothing else, it keeps in the front of your mind the habit of procrastination that we all face at least once in a while.

  • tardis 13

    And your article took less than 2 minutes to read… So I read it — rather than saving it for later. I like it.

  • بازی
  • Mark

    This technique seems to be working, but in my own mind I changed it to the 5-minute rule!