Frustrated by seeing too many Inbox actions which can fit the 2-minute rule

I often run into the captioned problem. I usually clean up my Inbox in the morning but sorting actions into Projects if they require a long time to complete, or can be deferred within a reasonable timeframe.

However, often time, I see too many Inbox actions which can fit the 2-minute rule. Let’s say, 5 in the morning. Doing all such together would, however, take up much more than 10 minutes as they are very uncorrelated.

I wonder if anyone feels the same, or has any tip to offer?

If you want to “eat that frog” so that you spend the morning working on deep work, rather than spending early morning time handling many small, shallow tasks I would recommend deferring those little tasks until later in the day, when you might be able to pull away from the deep work and knock out those tasks. Maybe just before lunch?

I try to follow that rule by never letting such things get to my inbox in the first place. I think the time spent adding to inbox, then later reviewing from inbox, is the time spent that you want to avoid with the two minute rule.



If this is a common issue for you, maybe try setting up a ‘deal with admin tasks’ daily task, and block out 15 minutes a day to deal with them, rather than dealing with them individually.

Most of my day is filled with meetings, and if I have a meeting end early I’ll use that time to try and complete one or two short tasks. Generally, if I have a task that can be done right away, such as answering an email quickly, I just do it. If it will take more than a minute or two but is still expected to take a short time, I use the ‘estimated time’ field and mark anything like this as ‘5m’. I have a perspective set up called ‘Quick’ that only looks for these items. That way, whenever I get a quick break in my day, I can go to that perspective and get one or two of these little tasks done.

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That makes sense and certainly fits within the spirit and strategy of GTD. However, some folks with ADHD understand the dangers of distraction, and will use the inbox to capture tasks (even < 2 min tasks) so that they can focus on the task underway.


Hi Scott,
I wish I have the same luxury (never allowing “<2m actions” into my Inbox). Perhaps my frustration stems from how I usually capture my ideas, namely using Siri on my iPhone to do voice-capturing when I am walking on the street or inside a car. I find this way of capturing ideas very efficient, and these are settings where I cannot however perform those tasks

Of course, my suggesting is meaningless if you’re out of context.

Here, re-evaluating what contexts you have/use might be helpful so that you don’t have as many potential tasks to pick from when it comes time to doing, and then adding tasks to those contexts when you use Siri?

There is only so much time to do so much, so I have found making the best lists to give myself the best options helps me feel as good as I can about what I am doing and what I am therefore not doing.


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