Back in 2001, when David Allen published the groundbreaking productivity book Getting Things Done, he coined the "two-minute rule": If you encounter a task that would take under two minutes to complete, just do it now.
He wasn't recommending that you spend your days ricocheting between random little activities, the moment they pop into your head.
His point was that anyone who takes a systematic approach to managing their time – with some combination of to-do lists, plans, schedules, and so on – inevitably incurs overheads.
Those lists and plans take time and effort, and for some smaller tasks, it's simply not worth it. By the time you've "clarified the next action", or made an entry on a list, or scheduled a time to focus on it, you could have just done the thing.
How Long Does It Take To Do Something?
It's been said that it's helpful to think about the time it takes to complete a task as including all the time you spend thinking about doing it, or stressing about not having done it yet, as well as actually doing it.
That helps clarify that acting immediately needn't be thought of as a matter of becoming more self-disciplined or pushing yourself harder.
Rather, it's a matter of sparing yourself the unnecessary hassle of having to-dos hanging over you, of suddenly remembering (at 3am) some task you should have completed by now, or of feeling bad about not acting as generously as you'd wish.
From this perspective, taking action is the easy option. It's procrastination that's the burdensome one.
Why not cut yourself some slack and just do the thing?
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