In the beginning stages of your business, speed is everything. A key goal which all early stage startup founders and entrepreneurs should aim for is getting maximum things done in a short time. This helps you stay ahead of your competition and develop a much better product. To do this, we need to be ultra-productive.

Now, just so it happens, at an early stage, most of us entrepreneurs start solo and in environments where there are a thousand distractions to bother us. To correct this, we need to set up some rules to improve our productivity. These rules should be formulated and constantly optimized to get things organized and done faster. After all, a streamlined and productive business will be the key for you to rise above your competitors.

David Allen, in his bestselling book, Getting Things Done, has come up with a perfect solution to achieve this which he calls the 2-minute rule. Here is how it works.

The 2-Minute Rule

As you go about your day, and you have new ideas and tasks come to your mind, ask yourself a very simple question: will this task take me less than two minutes to complete? If you answer yes, then do it right away and get it over with. Send that email, make that quick phone call, whatever it is, just accomplish it and do it immediately.

Why? The reason is that you will be far more efficient by doing that very short task at the moment than writing it on your to-do list and adding it as one more thing to do in the future. Even if you have written it down, chances are that it will weigh in your mind. You will start to dread looking at your to-do list, thus ignoring it.

So if you are sure that the new task can be done in less than two minutes, just do it immediately rather than reviewing, planning and writing about it. It is much easier and simpler to do it right away and it will make you much more productive.

How to Use the 2-Minute Rule for Longer Tasks

Not all your goals can be accomplished in two minutes. But there is still a way to use the 2-minute rule for longer tasks by using what author and productivity expert, James Clear terms “the inertia of life.” Here is how it works—once you start doing something, it is often easier to continue doing it than not to. Once you start writing the first line of an article—using the 2 min rule—you will find it is much easier to continue writing more as now your thoughts are in tune with the task of writing.

In the same way, once you have begun a conference call with your team—using the 2 min rule—it is much easier to discuss everything in the agenda than to cut the conversation and call again at a later date. You have everything in place to continue doing it and thus get things done.

Some Tools to Complement the 2 Min Rule and Increase Productivity

  1. Brain.fm – This app uses Artificial Intelligence to create musical sounds which scientists say improves productivity and keeps you focused on your current tasks.
  2. Momentum – This is basically a chrome extension which replaces the new page tab with a goal-oriented personal dashboard. The dashboard features a to-do list along with weather and inspirational quotes. I do not know if it’s subliminal or just the sight of a to-do list, but it has made me a lot more productive in my life.
  3. Blocksite – Sometimes it’s not our laziness but the abundance of distraction around us. Using this tool will not only block any site harming your productivity but also redirect you to a site which needs your work and instant attention.
  4. News Feed Eradicator – Keep politics and cats on the sideline while you are doing work. Use this tool to eradicate newsfeed from your timeline so that you don’t get engrossed in things not giving you any ROI.

Use the 2-minute rule in combination with these 4 tools to achieve higher productivity levels. Remember, the focus should be on taking action, and not worry about the enormity of the task. Once you start getting little things done, big tasks will follow suit due to the momentum you will get yourself into. Try it and share the results in the comments section.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Abhik Shome is a leading business consultant and an online marketing thought leader. Abhik is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Starting Idea, a growth marketing and self-development magazine exclusively focused towards giving fast-paced actionable strategies and tools for the modern day entrepreneur. As CEO of Brand Bridge Solutions, a digital marketing agency, Abhik is regularly quoted in mainstream media outlets and is a contributor to inc.com, YourStory, and other major publications. Tweet to him on @shomeabhik & @thestartingidea