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How to Revolutionize Your Student Life with the Two-Minute Rule


The two-minute rule is a concept developed by American time management guru David Allen. The rule helps you organize your everyday life and stay productive. The two-minute rule is easy to use and can be used in almost any situation. It is:

If you can complete a task in two minutes, do it right away.

If the processing takes longer than two minutes, then write the task on your to-do list and deal with it later. Or specifically: If you can read, understand, edit and file your lecturer’s e-mail in two minutes – then do it now. If you think it will take longer, give that task a spot on your to-do list.

So simple and yet so productive. Let’s take a look at why that is.

Why is the Two-Minute Rule So Helpful?

The two-minute rule ensures you get into action quickly and avoid over-organization. This concept does not distinguish between urgent tasks and those that can be completed later. It’s all about whether you find a task important: if it’s important, you take care of it immediately if you can do it in two minutes; if not, you collect the task and schedule it later.

The reason for the two-minute limit is that within that limit it would take longer overall to file and keep track of an issue than to deal with it the first time you pick it up – in other words, this is where the efficiency frontier lies.

If the task is not important (superfluous message in the WhatsApp group): away with it. If it’s important, you should do it efficiently. So either do it quickly (switch on the washing machine) or – in the case of more complex projects (write a student research project) – plan and proceed strategically.

Still not convinced? OK. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages.

The Biggest Advantages of the Two-Minute Rule

The two-minute rule is a filter for the little things that you encounter in everyday life. This rule will help you decide how to deal with new tasks and protect your to-do list.

These are the five biggest advantages of this method:

  • You avoid accumulations of mini-tasks on your to-do list.
  • It’s easier to get into action because you’re working in small, two-minute intervals.
  • You get into a flow faster because small tasks are completed quickly.
  • You improve your entire organization because you almost automatically think in steps and analyze your tasks.
  • You make a better assessment of important and unimportant tasks.

It will be much easier for you to complete your daily to-dos if you stick to the two-minute rule. All you have to do is estimate the duration of the upcoming challenges and decide whether the matter is important or not.

I will now show you how this can work in your studies.

How to Use the Two-Minute Rule When Studying

You can apply the two-minute rule to all areas of your student life. It is multifunctional and can be used whenever you are confronted with a new task. I have put together four sample applications for you:

  • study organization
  • household
  • social life
  • To learn

Look at the following examples and decide spontaneously how you would apply the two-minute rule: If you can complete the task in two minutes, then do it immediately. If not, put the task on your to-do list.

Here we go:

Example 1: Study Organization

How do you rate the following tasks?

  • Research exam date
  • Read the email from the instructor
  • Read exam regulations
  • pay the semester fee
  • planning a semester abroad

Possible solution:

  • Research the exam date (do it immediately!)
  • Read the email from the lecturer (do it immediately!)
  • Read the exam regulations (on the to-do list!)
  • Pay the semester fee (do it immediately!)
  • Planning a semester abroad (on the to-do list!)

Example 2: Household

How do you rate the following tasks?

  • clean up desk
  • make bed
  • clean windows
  • Turn on the washing machine
  • to hang the washing up

Possible solution:

  • Clean up desk (on the to-do list!)
  • make the bed (do it immediately!)
  • Clean windows (on the to-do list!)
  • Switch on the washing machine (do it immediately!)
  • Hang up laundry (on the to-do list!)

Example 3: Social Life

How do you rate the following tasks?

  • call grandma
  • to accept the birthday invitation
  • to go to sports
  • Research concert ticket prices
  • Cancel meetings with Sarah

Possible solution:

  • Call Grandma (on the to-do list!)
  • Accept birthday invitation (done immediately!)
  • Going to the gym (on the to-do list!)
  • Research concert ticket prices (do it now!)
  • Cancel meeting with Sarah (do it immediately!)

Example 4: Learning

How do you rate the following tasks?

  • Print out the lecture slides
  • Write down a definition
  • Find textbook
  • Write summary
  • Edit exercise

Possible solution:

  • Print out the lecture slides (do it immediately!)
  • Write down a definition (do it right away!)
  • Find the textbook (do it immediately!)
  • Write a summary (the on to-do list!)
  • Edit exercise the (on to-do list!)

The Limits of the Two-Minute Rule

The two-minute rule may seem very restrictive at first, but it’s not at all. Rather, you can use the two-minute window as a guideline and, depending on the situation, increase the threshold to five, ten, or fifteen minutes. Otherwise, you will consistently put off complex tasks (writing a summary, doing exercises, and so on) and thus undermining your learning progress.

Just make sure you choose the time slots that keep you productive and efficient. Depending on your personal timing, it can make sense to reduce the duration to one minute (or less), for example, because you either have little time and need results quickly or want to get into action immediately.

Also, you don’t have to use the two-minute rule for the entire day. This concept is not a measure to force you to be productive, but a means of being able to correctly assess new tasks and process them efficiently.


Many students get carried away by the daily flood of tasks. After a short while, they are up to their necks in water; they lose focus, overload their to-do lists, and get bogged down trying to work on multiple tasks at the same time. The two-minute rule helps you with exactly this problem. Of course, if you procrastinated all your semester, the rule will help you but not save you completely. Remember, sometimes getting help is okay from an essay writer – Hand Made Writing.

The two-minute rule sharpens your senses and ensures that you keep track. It gets you to rate each new challenge but makes it as easy as possible for you to decide what to do next: Everything you can do in under two minutes is done immediately – everything else goes to your to-do list for planning. List.

With this system you not only promote your organizational talent; you get going and also complete many more tasks than before – and also incredibly efficient. But the best thing is all tasks that you do immediately don’t make it onto your to-do list. You tick them off, so to speak, even before you can write them down. This will save you a large amount of mental energy.

And the energy that you don’t have to spend on small things can be used much better for big and important tasks. Or for more free time.

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