Abandon the 2-Minute Rule

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by PTKen, Jul 18, 2017.

  1. PTKen

    PTKen Registered

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    When I create this thread last week, I did not know that it would take this long before I had a chance to come back again. What a lively discussion! This is fantastic and I thank everyone for their comments. Sadly, I'm at work right now and don't have time to properly respond to everything the way that I want to, so I'll just say that I'll be back (hopefully before next week!) to post a proper reply. Thanks again for such a great conversation. :)
     
  2. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

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    I'm still not following your point. I suspect I'm not going to. It sounds rather as if you're saying that we must follow the two-minute rule because we must follow the two-minute rule. I doubt that that's what you're saying, but that's what I'm hearing.

    My point remains that if doing two-minute actions when encountered is a disruption/distraction for a given person, it can be better to just note them and do them later.
     
  3. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    In my last comment my point was: as a non-native English speaker I apparently misunderstood the subtleties of the meaning of the word "browse". That's all. It was never my intention to criticize your way of doing GTD. I'm sorry.
     
  4. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

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    Oh! I've never gotten the faintest vibe that you weren't a native English speaker, so I thought you were being sarcastic. :) Sorry about that.
     
  5. Castanea_d.

    Castanea_d. Registered

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    One of the values of the two-minute rule for me is that it keeps me from getting stuck on one item while processing the in box, e-mail etc. I have to fight the tendency to go ahead and get the thing done now when the better thing is to put it in a folder with an action TBD, start a Project for it, etc., and get on with processing the rest of the incoming stuff, or working on existing TBDs that have higher urgency/priority/relevance to context.

    But it is also valuable as others have mentioned in simply getting a lot of "little" things done so they are not clogging up the system (or worse yet, your mind because you haven't gotten them into your system! Been there.)
     
  6. Thaneth

    Thaneth GTD Connect

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    For me, If it's during weekly review, shorten the 2-mins to reduce the "get clear" time. So we can focus on the get current.
    But 2-min rule still make wonder during the clarify step to avoid my procrastination.
     
  7. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

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    Oh! See, I never thought of it that way. I interpreted the rule as, "If it will only take two minutes, you SHOULD interrupt yourself to do it!" and my response is, "Nope."

    If the rule has the effect of, "If it takes more than two minutes, don't interrupt yourself to do it!" and you might otherwise get distracted by it, yeah, that's dandy.
     
  8. Johnny

    Johnny Registered

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    Honestly, this is exactly the attitude that makes me comfortable about using GTD. You see, studying cults has been something of a hobby of mine for a couple of years (Scientology is the one I know by far the best), and by page 50 of the book, I knew that there had to be some link to New Age religions and I googled about it. Yup, the links are definitely there; but this paragraph pretty much sums up why I am ultimately comfortable with it: David Allen isn't trying to play it up as being something needs to be followed to the letter. Some of the "mind like water" things are definitely a little creepy, but it stays within reason as long as you are reasonable about it. Neither writing down all your open loops nor discharging all your engrams is going to get you there all the time - though both might help at times. In any case, this isn't the right place to go in depth on this.

    Ultimately, I think it's important that we not only reform our lives to fit "the system" but also reform the system to fit our lives. On one extreme is dangerous and the other is useless - striking a good middle ground is where you really get the maximum benefit.
     
  9. John Ismyname

    John Ismyname Registered

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    What a great topic! The two minute "rule" has always been a bone of contention to me. I ac tually have a mini digital kitchen timer at the base of my desktop monitor that is set to two minutes. My big takeaway is being realistic about how much I can (or can't) get done in two minutes. I frequently have to start this kitchen times a second time!
     
  10. Huicho

    Huicho Registered

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    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
  11. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

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    Yes! I totally agree.

    To look at the same thing in fractionally different terms (and I may have said this earlier in this thread) going through your Inbox is a task that requires some focused absorption. Every switch to a two-minute task is an interruption in that absorption. Various studies have determined that returning to absorption in a task takes twelve minutes, or twenty-three minutes, or something of that magnitude. So a two minute task will arguably steal fourteen minutes or twenty-five minutes.

    (OK, yes, I certainly did say it before. : ) )
     
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  12. Jose Miguel

    Jose Miguel GTD Connect

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    Hi Huicho,

    I have been blogging about GTD since 2008 and this publication, in particular, was written before I became a GTD partner.

    On the other hand, what I teach as GTD Certified Trainer does not necessarily have to coincide with my own experience or beliefs, so I do not see the sense of linking my personal opinion with the fact that I am now the official GTD partner in Spain, even more so when I clearly state on the blog that all opinions expressed there are mine only unless explicitly stated otherwise.

    I fully support the two-minute rule when it is strictly applied, that is, as an efficiency threshold. Unfortunately, many GTD beginners misinterpret it as "if it just takes a little while" and this leads to not emptying their inboxes, but this is a different kettle of fish.
     
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  13. Huicho

    Huicho Registered

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    I agree with you. And sorry for the inconveniences of your comment: "I do not see the sense of linking my personal opinion with the fact that I am now the official GTD partner in Spain".

    So I have edited my comment without that.
     
  14. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    Wow. If we keep this thread alive for a few more months we'll have to buy it an anniversary present.

    I'm not going to tell anyone that they must use the two-minute rule. I'm a big believer in doing what works for you. I can only say that adopting the practice has been very beneficial to me. It's gotten lots of projects un-stuck -- or prevented them from getting stuck in the first place -- without disrupting my focus as @Gardener has experienced. I'm not saying she's wrong per se, just that my experience has been different. If you're new to GTD, or just haven't tried applying the two-minute rule, don't be afraid to give it a shot.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
  15. kelstarrising

    kelstarrising I know some stuff about GTD

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    It took me less than two minutes to roll on the floor laughing at that...
     
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  16. ggray50

    ggray50 Registered

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    When you execute a less than 2 minute action which relates to an ongoing project, do you keep a note of it in your project support? I usually do eg. if it's been a quick email response, I'll forward it to the relevant project support folder so I don't forget that its been done.
     

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