How to Get Stuff Done 2 Minutes at a Time with the 2-Minute Tool


2-Minute Tool before & After - Get Stuff Done 2 minutes at a Time

I always love a good transformation story and want to share my own before-and-after. I helped my dad downsize this summer and had to store his furniture at my house during a 1-week gap between leases. I moved all of his stuff to my house one weekend (see the before picture) and moved some of it to his new place the following weekend. Then, I had to figure out what to do with the majority of his stuff.


I am not one of those people who looks at a pile like the "before" and gets excited about it. In fact, prior to 2020, I would have let that pile sit while daily telling myself "you really need to do something about it". Or, I would have moved it into a spare room or basement to deal with later. I would have "dealt" with the overwhelm of the project with inaction, procrastination, and negative thoughts. Since 2020 has been a period of immense growth and personal development, I have been working on taming negative thoughts and procrastination. Enter the 2-Minute Tool.


2-Minute Tool - How to Use the 2-Minute Tool for Better Habits

The 2-Minute Tool in Action

What if most of our lives were not created by large, grand, life-changing moments but instead were created by small, every-day decisions and habits. No need to "what-if", they actually are! And if you want to change your life, you can start by changing one small habit.


In the case of my dad's stuff, the large, sweeping gestures were the furniture, clothes, and toiletries. Those were ended up being the easy things to work through because they had a place to go. It was the rest of the stuff: the photos, Christmas ornaments, Air Force trunk, dish towels, paperwork, post-it notes, office supplies, old watches, ties... The overwhelming nature of the task would have made pre-2020 me procrastinate until we had company (which in most years would be Christmas)!


Thank goodness for the 2-Minute Tool.

“Just write a little bit every day.” Madeleine L'Engle, Author of a Wrinkle in Time

I've embraced the concept of small actions and have found it to be one of the best things for changing things that I want to change in my life. For dad's stuff, I used the 2-Minute Tool like this:

  • Work for 2 minutes and gather all of the pictures in one spot. Repeat several times.

  • Work for 2 minutes and place all of the bills and financial paperwork in one spot. Repeat several times.

  • Gather all of the seasonal items and place them in the basement. Do this for 2 minutes.

I kept working through various categories of items to gather them together and then to store, recycle, donate. This process took me about a week through the course of many 2-minute sessions. I have a tower of bins with photographs to go through and send to aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Was it fun? Not really. Was it satisfying? Absolutely. Was it overwhelming? It was very doable.


But why is this so important? In the past, I have always gone for grand gestures, like walking 10,000 steps a day or completing a 30-day no-sugar challenge. These were great motivators at the beginning of the 30 days, but I actually dreaded doing them and once the 30 days were finished, I reverted back to my old habits. I knew there had to be a better way. Enter the 2-minute habit for health!


The 2-Minute Tool for Creating New Habits

Consider my habit of exercise: I have established the habit of exercising for 2 minutes a day. That's it. The habit is so small and so achievable. Here's what I've noticed:

  • On days when I have absolutely no interest in exercising, I tell myself that I can do anything for 2 minutes. And I do it. I usually ride my exercise bike and read for 2 minutes.

  • Most days, I actually look forward to exercising and do it while waiting for my coffee to brew.

  • Some days, I feel so excited about how my body feels when I am moving, that I will take a couple of 5-minute breaks and walk outside.

  • Periodically, I will race against the clock and see how far I can bike in 2 minutes.

I am such a believer in the power of the 2-Minute Tool, that I have created this free downloadable guide with more ways to use it as well as areas of your life to use it. Click here to get it.

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Jim Ryun, the first high schooler to run an under-4-minute mile

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