GTD: The Power of 2 Minutes


My last post introduced the idea of GTD (getting things done), and specifically, the efficiency philosophy espoused by David Allen in his book, Getting Things Done, as well as via sites like 43Folders and Lifehacker.

Well, to get you started, I thought I’d bring to the discussion one of the most profound techniques from Allen’s GTD: the two-minute rule. This deceptively simple technique basically attempts to get you in the habit of clearing out the small, annoying, tasks (frequently things you think about more than once but do nothing about) that have a habit of cluttering up your brain and disallowing you to get to the bigger issues (Allen refers to these as “Open Loops”).

What you do is first purge all of the things you have floating around in your brain (ideally into a system like kGTD), and then identify any of these things that you can accomplish in two minutes or less. These things might include, answering certain emails, returning a phone call, paying a bill, etc.

As I said, this is deceptively simple stuff. Once you sort of institutionalize this practice so that you routinely and automatically knock off those little two-minute details, you’ll find yourself with moments of real clarity that will allow you to get to bigger things: write that song, write that marketing plan for your CD release, etc.

As we’ll see in future posts, this two-minute drill is foundational, and will be built upon in other elements of the GTD system, but, for now, just go and knock down some annoying open loops.


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