The ultimate productivity hack

the 2-minute rule

  • fixes the biggest barrier which is starting
  • builds consistency which has multitude of benefits
  • benefit 1 compound effect
  • benefit 2 identity change
  • the last and probably the most important effect it creates is the good feeling effect
  • good feeling effect makes sure we return to the activity since it is so simple and so satisfying when we do a session

Barriers to productivity

Atomic Habits (my affiliate link) is probably the best book ever written on productivity. James Clear goes into detail on what is essentially the biggest problem with habits and behavioral change: Identity. The best way to change our identity is to “vote” with behavior. So if there is a technique that guarantees consistency in actions/behaviors, that will inevitably lead to an identity change!

The 2-minute rule

The 2-minute rule, which I also mentioned in my last article, is this magical strategy that tricks our brain into doing things it would otherwise procrastinate on. And it is very simple, if you don’t feel like doing something, do it for 2 minutes only and then stop. The main principle of the 2-minute rule is to reduce the friction to a point that is almost effortless to do something. And it works like a charm. The nonobvious thing is to reduce it even further, even 2 minutes is too much, do it for 2 seconds, just think about it for a couple of seconds, anything that will keep the consistency.

Benefit 1: The Compound effect

The 2-minute rule will tap into the power of the compound effect, where the value grows exponentially instead of linearly after enough time has passed.

Let’s go over a simple thought experiment to demonstrate the power of the compound effect. 2 minutes per day in 100 days is 200 minutes if we think just mathematically. We could try and squeeze in 200 minutes in around 3,3 hours and mathematically that is the same, but 200 minutes in 100 days is a lot more powerful due to the compound effect. Having a refreshed state of mind before we start each session every day for 100 days will be different than trying to squeeze in the same amount of time in one session.

Benefit 2: Identity change

Identity change is a requirement if we want to change our lives, and it sounds scary, but it is the only thing that will guarantee a habit will stick for a long time. Consistency will ensure that we will see ourselves as a person who does a particular habit. The 2-minute rule will inevitably lead to an identity change since it is easy to stick with a habit for a long time.

Benefit 3: Feel-good effect

The final and most important aspect of any activity that we do, if we don’t feel good afterward, it is very difficult to repeat that activity. The 2-minute rule will help us see the progress of our activities and that will always result in a feel-good mood. Even if it is for just 2 minutes of work.

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