What’s Your Small Business Two Minute Drill?

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Ever notice how most of the points scored in football games seem to come in the last two minutes of a half?  Why is it that it is more important than any other two minute period of the game?

It’s not, but it takes on an added importance because halftime or the end of the game is about to happen.  It’s easy to focus everything you have into a two minute time frame.

Suddenly, you realize how valuable each second has become, but in truth it had always been that valuable.  The only thing that changes is our recognition of its value.

How valuable is time in your small business?  What is two minutes worth?  Does your small business have a two minute drill?

What Can You Accomplish in Two Minutes?

We all seem to find times throughout our day when we are between meetings or tasks and have about 10 to 15 minutes to kill.  What do you do with this down time?

It’s a great time to put your two minute drill into action.  Just how much can you accomplish in two minutes?  You might actually be surprised.

The Two Minute Rule from David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, says that …

If you’ve decided an action step, and you can finish that action step in two minutes or less, then you’re best off to do that very action that very moment.

He points out that it’s the most efficient use of our time because “it would take more time to stack it, track it, organize it, and look at it again” than just do it right then.

Isn’t This Just the Old Touch It Once Rule?

That sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  Many of you have probably been using the Touch It Once rule for quite some time; however, how important are the tasks to which you are applying the rule?

We’ve applied this rule historically to tasks like paying bills, approving an invoice, or even cleaning out our email inbox.  These are all great examples of things that can be done in two minutes, and are necessary items that need to be completed as part of our workday.

How much value do they add to your small business though? Probably not much, and if they could be delegated they should be.  If you can’t, is it the most efficient use of your time to do these during your downtime?

I’ve found that doing it in a block of preset time allows me to be even more efficient with these types of tasks.  My default weekly schedule has blocks of times reserved to handle these type of items.

You Have to Train for an Effective Two Minute Drill

Think about your most important projects.  If it’s like most projects you will have plenty of meetings along the way.  Most of these can be set up within two minutes.

There may be a critical report that you need to approve, an article that you need to read, or an email response that needs to go out.  You will be surprised when you start looking at larger projects how many steps can be completed in two minutes or less.

Put an egg timer on your desk and start timing your activities.  You will quickly learn what types of tasks you can accomplish in two minutes.  Soon you will start seeing your workday as tasks that will fit inside these two minute windows.

All that it takes is a little training, and you will be running your two minute drill like a pro.

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Brad's Big Feet Marketing helps people on a limited budget enlarge their online footprint using blogging & social media. His other blog, Marketplace Christianity, examines faith's role in how we earn and spend money.

Brad has written 95 awesome articles for us at Bradley A Harmon

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

@RodKirby January 26, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Hey, Brad, interesting post, I think this is the first time I've heard of the concept of a 2 minute drill, but I think I'm familiar with it. I have an interesting gift, it's the gift of "focus." I can't do more than one thing at a time – I physically can, but mentally, I just can't do it. I find that I accomplish a lot more this way. So, my 2 minute drill is interesting because I can't just do something in 2 minutes and move on, I've got to sit there and kill it until there's nothing left of it, lol.

Good post man.
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Brad Harmon January 26, 2010 at 4:30 pm

I've noticed in your tweets that you are a gamer. I love strategy games. One of my all-time favorites is Civilization. You start out with one villager and create your civilization from there. Depending on the settings, these games can easily last hours. I have to play the game through in one sitting because I can't seem to be able to save the game an hour into it and then pick it back up a day later.

In my life as an entrepreneur though, there are some projects which simply cannot be finished in one sitting. We just have to learn to break these up into smaller and smaller projects that can be. This is where the 2 minute drill can really help.

It takes training to both learn what types of activities we can fit into 2 minutes and to develop the skills and discipline necessary to do it. A great example for bloggers is knowing what types of comments you can leave or reply to within 2 minutes – not all comments can be drafted in that time frame, but many can. This is one of the areas that I am currently training to be a 2 minute drill.

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Jason February 10, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Great post Brad,
I've actually never heard of the one touch rule. I've always approach to-do items in terms of Parkinson's Law: work will expand the time available for it's completion. This is what makes the 2-minute drill so great. Just get in there and knock it out!
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Brad Harmon February 11, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Touch it once works great for little tasks that don't really require a lot of out-of-the-box thinking. Too often we let our offices and inboxes acquire stacks that we shuffle around rather than just picking it up and quickly knocking it out. I'm very bad about seminar and conference brochures. I usually know I am not going to attend, but rather than just trash it I seem to keep them circulating in my inbox until the event has already passed.

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