I've been busy this week with a rush of business
items landing on my desk via phone and e-mail.
Added to that are all kinds of year-end forms, reports
and unfinished business resulting from the "we'll take
care of it after the Holidays" rationalization.
Earlier this week, if my desk top was an airport
runway, air traffic control would have shut it down for
safety reasons. Piles of papers and mail, post-it
notes and a full e-mail box were like planes trapped in
Chicago at O'Hare in a blizzard. Nothing was
moving, frustration was high and some heavy duty
equipment was necessary for clearing the wrath of the
I needed to sweep the paper and electronic blizzards
on my desk top and computer screen, so I reached for
one of the best pieces of equipment a business
person can own.
A special book.
Now, taking time to read a book in an office work
firefight sounds silly at first, but David
Allen's "Getting Things Done" is a must read for
the those who want to be more productive without
creating more stress to go along with it.
I re read the chapter on processing the inflow of
Allen makes a case for his "two minute rule" to get
things out of the way and off your list of things to do.
His two minute rule is simple.
If the next action on your list can be done in two
minutes or less, do it when you first pick the item
up. As an example, if you need to call someone and
leave a message about a horse, client or meetings,
make the call. Browse the catalogs for items of
interest and toss them or file them. If it is a yes or no
e-mail question, hit reply, type a sentence and be
done with it.
It takes more time to track and carry a two
minute task than to just get it done. But if you're like
me, you often labor carrying buckets and buckets
of "little tasks" forward each working day.
Your day is filled with dedicated time slots for
lessons, training and client work. The opportunity to
respond to phone messages, e-mails and read snail
mail is restricted to the few and short blocks of time
between committed hours and half hours. When you
apply the two minute rule as you sort through these
tasks (the blizzard) you'll find that you'll begin to feel
better about your productivity as you lighten the list of
There is great satisfaction in crossing through or
checking off even the smallest of items on the long list
screaming for your attention. When you're done
reading this newsletter, why not take care of a few two