If you walk around the back part of the library, you are likely to see any or all of the following: a styrofoam box that may or may not contain the remnants of someone’s lunch, a sweater, a Target bag full of someone’s lunchtime shopping, and a phone. The one thing that these items have in common is that none is where it’s supposed to be.
What tends to happen is that someone is on the way to put an item away, gets distracted, puts said item down, and then forgets about it. For a hour. For a day. For a week. For eternity.
This forgetfulness annoys the neater staff member and causes clutter.
Recently, while reading I came across the two-minute rule. Basically it’s this: If a task takes less than two minutes, don’t make an excuse, do it.
Procrastination is one of my problems. When I come home from work, my first impulse is to sit on the sofa and decompress for a while. And then three hours later, I delay going to bed because I’m tired but still need to take out my contacts, change clothes, etc. My mail piles up on the table by my door. And my dining table has become a purgatory for all the things that I can’t decide where to put or find a place for.
So I took some baby steps. The first night I came home, before sitting down, I sorted my mail. Then as I looked longingly at my sofa, I asked myself if it would take longer than two minutes to take out my contacts. The answer was no, so I trudged upstairs.
A few hours later, when I was ready to go to bed, I didn’t have to wash my face, put away my clothes, or put dishes in the dishwasher. All I had to do was go upstairs. It was a good night.
It also works for larger projects, especially as a way to get started when an assignment seems too large and overwhelming.
Now I just need to make my colleagues as enthused about the two-minute rule as I am.