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2 minutes over and over?

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  • 2 minutes over and over?

    Hi,
    by searching the forum I can't find a thread in regards of the following:

    If I do my inbox-routine, having the holy 2-minutes-rule in mind, one question came up which isn't IMO not considered by the gtd workflow:

    If there is an entry where the next-actions will take about 2 minutes I will do the task immediately (as suggested by the system).
    When this task generates a next-action, which also can be done in 2 minutes A/ should I this also immediately or b/ should I put this action on an appropriate list for later?

    In the first case a single entry could lead to a sequence of 2-minutes tasks which in total requires more time than I want to invest for my inbox-routine...

    Bye, Jens

  • #2
    In theory, yes you should also do all the subsequent two minute actions aswel, because putting them all in a system and reviewing a couple of times later etc will also take up time and that just isn't worth it.
    However, if you already know that a certain inbox item will lead to lets say a dozen of 2 or 3 minute NA's and all those are in that same context (I assume they are, how else would you complete each in 2 minutes) then you can bundle them together in one project, or - blasphemy! - just make one NA out of it.
    Ok, they're actually multiple NA's but they're all in the same context and they belong together so you can split the total in lets say three 8-minute NA's instead of twelve 2-minute NA's.
    This is unorthodox though so GTD hardcores might shoot me know Still, I think that is most productive. The 2 minute rule is there because most people have a few little things that show up and can just be done immediately, but that's not your case. you have many short things to do, so putting them in the system and continue processing is the right thing to do.
    I think I would make a project and define the first NA for it, then continue processing. Later when doing and finishing that NA, I might automatically also do some if not all of the other NA's for that project. Very little time spent on the system, but still it did not interrupt the processing

    [edit] On the one NA thing: If i have to download a form, print it, fill it out and mail it back, those are only 2 NA's for me. download,print,fill out is something I'm going to do in one sweep in one context so it's one NA. and if something does happen to interrupt and I have to fill it out later then of course I do enter it in the system as a seperate task.
    Now while downloading, printing and filling out might each take only 2 or 3 minutes, all three combined take 6-9. Maybe your NA's are too fine-grained?
    Last edited by RoninTDK; 01-20-2009, 03:53 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by fant View Post
      In the first case a single entry could lead to a sequence of 2-minutes tasks which in total requires more time than I want to invest for my inbox-routine...
      As RoninTDK notes, the key issue here is what DA calls "stacking and tracking".

      You should do 2 minute actions because it takes ~ 2 minutes to track next actions in your system.

      If you can clearly see a trail of linked 2 minute actions arising, I'd say just enter the first one in your system and move on, especially if you have limited time for inbox processing.

      - Don

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      • #4
        The 2-minute rule is great and speeds up much. It saves time in not having to record an action and return to a task. However, reality dictates that there are many times when it isn't possible to do each and every 2-minute action. If one 2-minute action leads to another and so on, you have now moved over to working on a project. If you want to process your inbox vs working the project, record the next action and move on.

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        • #5
          The 2 minute rule misconception.

          Originally posted by fant View Post
          If there is an entry where the next-actions will take about 2 minutes I will do the task immediately (as suggested by the system).
          When this task generates a next-action, which also can be done in 2 minutes A/ should I this also immediately or b/ should I put this action on an appropriate list for later?
          I think there is a common misconception about the 2 minute rule.

          The 2 minute rule is about the actions than can be completed within two minutes or less. In my case these actions usually take no more than one minute and some of them 10 seconds.

          It is not true that you can do only 30 "2 minute actions" per hour. In my case it is more than 60!

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          • #6
            In my busy world I have only 30 to 40 minutes to process daily. And that's the time I can clear the decks: my calendar, all my inboxes and next action lists. So I prefer to defer next actions. I'd better do them later if that's really important then taking my golden processing time. I would say my 2 minutes rule is 10-20 seconds rule and only that fast items go under that rule

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