2 Minutes and 5 Seconds Rules

In the internet age, productivity becomes a key factor to our success. One of a big problem we face is the flood of information. There is, just, too much to consume every single second. People do not have much problem accessing knowledge. Knowledge is free. Within some minutes asking google, one can find almost anything they wish to know. Even the word Productivity, you can search for its definition, for how to improve productivity, …

The problem? People ask for advice improving productivity. However, that is it. We do not know how to start.

For some, every day we spend time on

  • Facebook: they feel to have a need to know how the world is going, what their friends are doing, … people all have good reason to explain for that they are doing.
  • Online game: Oh yes, we need to relax.
  • Watch TV: Hey cannot miss that exciting football matches. Oh, there is a romantic movie about love.
  • Yeah, read some local newspapers. Need to keep up to date with some famous stars. Btw, there is a famous couple just broke up.
  • Hang on. There are promotions on these sale websites.
  • …..

And we come to their boss asking for increasing salary. And then we complain how limited time they have, that there is not enough time to read job-related materials, that there is not enough time to finish the work. Finally, we look for ways to improve productivity.

People know that

  • To improve health: at least we must start doing exercise
  • To improve salary: at least we must finish their tasks and deliver more than requested
  • To improve skill: at least we must read materials about that skill, or take classes.
  • To gain more time: at least we must stop doing other things – the stupid things.
  • ….

Productivity is, at its basic, the ability to focus to get things done. There might be other definitions. But I decide to choose the one that I can work with.

Some years ago, I had many of them. I started to change by reading as many books as possible. Some told me that reading books will not help anything. They might be right.

However, reading books give me ideas. Many ideas are so obvious. And because they are so obvious. Not many people care about them. I have applied many of those ideas into my daily life. It works. Because I believe in them. If I was wrong, I lost nothing by the way.

Once again, I have not found enough. I procrastinate. Sometimes when a task comes in, my immediate thought was a denial. My brain finds reasons to not doing it.

I give you some

When I want to write a blog post, my brain gives me

  • No one gonna read your post
  • Hey, it is too easy. Everyone knows.
  • They will make laugh at you – idiot.

When I have to do paper work in government offices, my brain gives me

  • It will cost you lot of time
  • Too crowded
  • Those officers are unprofessional.
  • Hey, today is not the right time.

And I happened to know that that is the way our brain works.


I thought what if I combine these ideas and give them a try: 2 Minutes rule from David Allen and 5 Seconds rule from Mel Robbins.

2 Minutes rule

If a task takes less than 2 minutes to complete. You should do it.

5 Seconds rule

Count down 5-4-3-2-1 DO IT

Note: They are not exactly as the original. I made them as I understood them my own way.

My framework: 5-2-DO Rule

Given a task,

If it takes less than 2 minutes

Then count down 5-4-3-2-1 DO IT.

It reads Fine To Do” rule. (I am a programmer)

The main idea is to act, to get things done.

By now, we might wonder “How do I know it takes 2 minutes?” We don’t. It does not really matter the time. The 2-minute window is a concept. It makes we think that those tasks are easy and that we can do it quickly.

How long does 2-minute take? To get a feeling, I suggest you go on a treadmill, set for 60 minutes running, at the 58th minute, you will feel how long a 2-minute take. Or should I suggest you wait for the 2-minute red light in traffic? Feel it?

Writing this post takes me hours. How do I apply the “Fine To Do” rule? I break it down into 4 tasks

  1. Task 1: Decide to write and topic.
  2. Task 2: Open the laptop and go to my blog, click on the New Post button.
  3. Task 3: Write your first sentence.
  4. Task 4: Finish the post

Except the task 4, the first 3 tasks do not take much time, maybe less than 2 minutes. By separating them into a small chunk of easy tasks, it helps me get started, which is the most important thing in Productivity. To do something, you must start first.

By applying that rule, I do not have time for unwanted thoughts. My brain does not have a chance to interrupt with strong reasons to stop me. I know it is going to stop me, therefore, I make a step ahead.


Now comes to a final obstacle of the post: The moment, the courage to press the Publish button. Everything so far is my private. I feel safe when writing. But the moment I think of publishing, all the fear jumps in.

Take 2 seconds to press the publish button. 5-4-3-2-1 DO.

Welcome to my rule: 5-2-DO. AKA: Fine To Do.

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