What is the 2-Minute Rule?

By Mollie Nelson, American Farriers Journal Assistant Editor 

My goal for professional development was to find something that would help me manage the day-to-day responsibilities of my role more effectively — but I also wanted something I could easily go back to as a resource. My search led me to Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen.

Besides presenting a reasonable, realistic framework for staying on top of action items, this book provides a lot of smaller tools for being more productive and cutting down on stress. One of these tools is something Allen calls “the 2-minute rule.”

In choosing to delegate something, ask yourself, “Am I the best person for this task?” If you aren’t, then you need to identify the colleague in your network best suited to take care of that item and forward it onto them in a systematic format.

If you are the best person to take care of an item but you can’t do it right away, you should defer it. This means noting what needs to be done and adding it to a future projects or to-do list.

This 2-minute rule might seem overly simplistic at first glance, but it’s effective. Before I started following it, emails and small tasks would sometimes pile up on my desk or in my inbox, and dealing with them felt overwhelming.

Now, I have a system that helps me navigate through smaller tasks that I might otherwise have lost track of and keeps me moving on to what needs to be done. The best thing about the 2-minute rule is that it’s easy to use. It requires no special skills, equipment or planning — you just make it a part of your daily decision-making process.