GTD. Ever heard of it? Just Google or Bing “GTD” and you will quickly learn that it is an entire philosophy and methodology around Getting Things Done. Trademarked by David Allen, Getting Things Done is a way to achieve a sort of personal productivity nirvana.

Years ago, a colleague of mine showed me this bizarre 43 filing system on his desk. I was intrigued and started to learn more. I eventually bought and read David Allen’s book Getting Things Done, The Art of Stress-Free Productivity and I was hooked. I implemented much of his methodology and quickly found myself having more credibility with coworkers and subordinates. Management began to see me as a ‘go-to’ to get stuff done.

I won’t spend much time in this post talking about his 300 page book other than to introduce you to a simple and powerful aspect of David’s GTD methodology: the 2-minute rule.

When you see something in your inbox, paper-based or virtual, you need to ask yourself a series of questions:

  1. What is it?
  2. Is it actionable?
  3. What’s the next action?

…and then this powerful question…

Can I do it now in 2-minutes or less?

If the answer is yes, then do it right then and there! So much email can be eliminated, so many mundane tasks can be dissolved, and so much credibility can be gained with colleagues by simply evaluating if something can be done in 2-minutes or less and then getting it done right then and there.

Now, of course, there is more to say about this and other aspects of the GTD philosophy, but start with the 2-minute rule. It can be professionally life changing.

…notice this post can be read in less than two minutes? 😉


Published by Jerrod Guddat

I love learning, collaboration, and improving workplace performance. You can usually find me reading a book or opposing points of view on the internet. I typically assume my ideas are flawed until proven otherwise. :-)

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