You have little time but a lot to do? Or are you simply gripped by chronic listlessness? With the 2-minute rule, you can say goodbye to it. From now on you will have enough time to play at the National Casino


Unproductivity has many reasons. If our brain lacks resources, even small decisions become difficult. However, overwork, fatigue, stress, and the resulting unwillingness to complete tasks directly are not uncommon today. In our fast-moving, digitalized, and dynamic world, we have to deal with a sensory overload: Crowds of people, screens, images, information – and, and, and. It all quickly becomes too much. So it is no wonder that we feel unproductive and overwhelmed, that we put things off and sometimes even fall into a kind of rigidity.

In order not to be permanently unproductive and to feel small moments of success in our working life as well as in everyday life, another self-management expert has described the principle of the 2-minute rule in his book “Getting Things Done” (GTS).


The globally successful rule is a popular method that helps you to make your workday and also your private life more relaxed, productive, and stress-free. The Allen 2-Minute Rule states:

If you have a task in front of you that takes less than two minutes of your time, do it right away. Do not hand it in, do not put it off.

If the task takes longer, postpone it or turn it in.

As a result, small things and details do not overload your brain. As a result, you will feel more productive right away and have enough energy to make your daily life efficient and successful.

Understanding the brain: How does the 2-minute rule work?

Interesting in this context is the so-called “Zeigarnik effect”. 

Conversely, this means that our brain is constantly occupied with unfinished tasks, even if only subconsciously or barely noticeably in the background. This can inhibit our productivity.

Basically, smaller tasks enjoy less priority in our daily lives, whether in the office or in our free time. That is why we simply put them off to the back. After all, some things need to be done right now: There is the doctor’s appointment, the weekly shopping, and the finalization of the work project. The crux of the matter is that small and supposedly unimportant things suddenly become a big burden.

The 2-minute rule is based, among other things, on the fact that your brain checks off completed tasks as successes and interprets unfinished tasks as failures:

That which is no longer on your mind is simply: gone. The more happiness hormones we feel as a result of completed things, the more we want to have of them. So you can train your brain well – and make the rule a habit.

If, on the other hand, we stick to the habit, we do not notice any changes: procrastination usually makes everything worse; the little worries and tasks “stick” to you for the whole week.

If you do the small tasks directly, without excuses or procrastination, you have your head free not only for the big tasks. You feel less blocked inside and work more productively overall.