Have you heard of the two minute rule? It goes something like this:
If a task takes you less than two minutes to complete, do it now.
Here’s a succinct explanation:
It’s surprising how many things we put off that we could get done in two minutes or less. For example, washing your dishes immediately after your meal, tossing the laundry in the washing machine, taking out the garbage, cleaning up clutter, sending that email, and so on.
It’s one of those things I heard once and it made me laugh. Because this is my life right now:
It’s August. It’s evening and my husband is mowing. I come in from watering the garden, a wet and stinky toddler on my hip. I need to go back out to turn off the water and roll up the hose, and that will be easier to do if my toddler is indoors and not within running distance of the road. It shouldn’t take longer than two minutes.
I quickly wash the toddler’s hands and take off her dirty shoes. I peel off her wet shirt (no pants because it’s August) and change her diaper. She’s fussy and clinging to me. I need to distract her so I can go back outside, so I hunt for the TV remote.
Several minutes later I manage to get a YouTube video on and gather up the dirty diaper and wet clothing. Laundry basket. Diaper pail.
My five year-old comes down the stairs in his flannel pajamas. It’s August, I tell him.
While I’m at the diaper pail I notice the cat’s litter box needs to be cleaned, so I grab a bag and do it.
The YouTube video has ended. On my way back to the living room I step on a goldfish cracker. It shatters into a million orange crumbs. Broom and dustpan.
I look at the clock and realize it’s time for the toddler to have her evening milk. But then the seven year-old wants me to Ask Google what the most venomous snake in the world is.
Ask Google yourself, I tell him, before I rethink the wisdom of letting an internet search engine correctly interpret his question.
The toddler is now watching whatever YouTube decided to play next. I dash outside and turn off the water. I leave the hose laying in the yard and tell myself I’ll get it later.
And that’s my life. One simple, two-minute task takes approximately twenty minutes to complete.
There are hundreds more of those two-minute tasks that won’t get done. I have to prioritize. I have to do two minutes of laundry before I can spare two minutes for the kitchen floor. Oh, wait, it’s lunchtime. Time for two minutes of cutting up grapes and dividing out crackers and baloney.
I have to text my husband about plans for the weekend, and pay the electric bill. Dentist appointments are overdue. My phone reminds me that I haven’t taken my Words with Friends turn and my grandmother is waiting.
Someone starts crying in the living room and everything gets reshuffled. Time passes so quickly in two-minute increments.