Friday, April 06, 2007

Two-minute tasks

I'm slowly settling into the routine of the Getting Things Done methodology. Some parts of it are more practical for me than others. One idea that I really like has been the Two-Minute Rule. When you're processing your to-do list (that is, your "actionable items"), if you find a task that will take less than two minutes to complete, do it immediately. I've rounded this up to five minutes, since I have so few two-minute tasks. And it's worked well.

One of the things I find irritating are all of the little tasks that remain undone. We spent two weeks with a light bulb burnt out in the dining room. It wasn't significant in terms of illumination; we've got 14 light bulbs in the dining room (I did marry a lighting designer, after all -- none of it is task lighting), and one missing bulb doesn't affect how much light we have. But we still notice it's gone, but we just never get around to changing it, so it just hovers on the edge of my awareness, one more thing waiting on the to-do list. But now that I'm being more conscious of quick tasks, I'm getting better about little tiny projects like that. I also re-hung my towel hook in the bathroom, where the drywall anchor had pulled out of the wall, and collected my library books into a neat centrally-located pile, and done a dozen other similar tasks that have been lurking for a long time. Forking over the compost? Done. Disposing of the big lawn chair that's been sitting next to the trash cans in the back yard for the past year? Done. I've even applied it to exercise. When I have a free minute (and nobody's looking), I crank out some quick push-ups or stretches.

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