In the U. S., tomorrow is Independence Day, the celebration of our nation's freedom, celebrated on July 4. And since the Fourth of July falls on a Thursday this year, that means many offices will be closed on Friday for a long holiday weekend. So lots of you are probably in 'clean up' mode, trying to get your desk cleaned off and some tasks completed so you can have a clear conscience and enjoy the holiday. In other words, it's a great time to employ David Allen's Two Minute rule from Getting Things Done.
The essential premise is this: if, while you're cleaning off your desk, sorting through the piles of mail or paperwork that has accumulated in your office, you come across something for which the next action you need to take will take 2 minutes or less to accomplish (like making a quick phone call or entering something on your calendar) you should do it right away.
Of course, this means that you'll need to get in the habit of thinking about what the next action is on anything you come across (see Time Management Tip #7 for more on next actions).
In other words, don't put that piece of paper in another pile or stop and take the time to write yourself a note or add the task to your 'to do' list - those things will take just as long as simply accomplishing the task then and there.
This can be especially helpful when dealing with email - as you go through your email inbox, think about whether you can dispose of an email entirely by taking action right away, rather than reading through all of your email messages and then expecting to go back and address each one later.
Start using the two minute rule today - chances are you'll have a much smaller pile to come back to after the holiday weekend.