The two minute way to get stuff done.

Written by  //  February 21, 2013  //  Daily Juice  //  No comments

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I’ve mentioned before that I’m on an ongoing quest to get more done in less time. What with having four children and a business and all, I need to be super-efficient.  This doesn’t come easily to me, I’m not naturally efficient. I get distracted by stuff and bored by tasks.

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Anyway, to help me get stuff done I try lots of techniques. Some don’t work for me at all, some are great and some have inspired me to conjure up new methods.

One such newbie is my Two-Minute-Task

I first came across the concept of two-minute-tasks in David Allen’s best selling book Get Things Done. Quick detour about the book: GTD (as those in the know call it) is a clever and simple process for getting stuff done but best suited to a corporate environment. So not you and me.

In the book David Allen’s advice is that if a 2 minute task pops up (in your inbox or from wherever) you should just do it. The theory being that it will take you longer to decide what to do with the task than to actually do it.

I thought this was fabulous advice. Until I actually tried it.

Turns out I have an infinite number of two-minute-tasks (pop the washing on, reply to an email, phone the school, reply to an email, call Jane, reply to Anne, message Bob, take bin out, tidy desk….). You probably do too.

I figured that if I were to do every two minute task as soon as it popped up I’d have days and days of doing – yikes – nothing but 2 minute tasks. I guess I’d always have a short to-do list but I wouldn’t have much of a business.

Still, I still liked the idea of the two minute task, so I morphed it into something a little more doable for me.  

So here’s my version. I’ve found it helps keep me focussed on the work I should be doing while also getting the little jobs done. All round, quite a result!

The Two-Minute-Task

  1. I have a piece of paper on my desk titled “Two-Minute-Tasks”. It’s paper ‘cos I like to scribble stuff down. If you’re more of a digital girl then use whatever app or document that works for you.
  2. Every time I think of (or get an email about…) a two-minute-task I pop it on the list. Then I forget about it.
  3. “Forgetting” is the really important part. You don’t want to have your two-minute-task festering in your brain while you’re trying to get on with super-important stuff. That’s the point of the list, it get’s it out of your mind so you can work on the right things.
  4. That said, if a two-minute-task on my list is persistently bothering me then I do go off and do it. Occasionally you just have to give in!
  5. When I’m up for a break from whatever I’m doing (like after one of these 90 minute sessions) I do a twenty minute blitz on my two-minute-tasks. I set my iphone timer for twenty minutes and almost nerdily see how many tasks I can knock off my list. It’s a race against myself and I love it! The funny thing is that not only does it get those annoying little jobs done – it also gives me a burst of energy. Seriously, I go back to my proper work all bouncy and invigorated.
  6. I also keep my two-minute-task list handy for those small windows –  the ten minutes when there’s not quite enough time to start on something chunky but you feel like you should be doing something. Like the ten minutes before heading to school or while waiting for a meeting.
  7. Finally I also work on the list when I’m tired, or when my mojo has gone walkabout. Ticking things off a two-minute-list sounds an unlikely tonic, but it works for me!

How do you manage your little tasks?


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