Get It Done in 2 Minutes – or less

You may remember a review I wrote on The Happiness Project. The book, overall, did not make me any happier, in fact, I felt complete disgust at several of the suggestions. These felt tiring with little payback reward. However, I did glean one gem. “If you can get it done in 2 minutes or less, do it now!” These are things like returning to turn off the lights, grabbing the trash on the way out of the door, paying a credit card bill, or simply putting water on to boil for spaghetti. Often I have these little “doodad to dos” that instead of remaining faithful to my “Do it now” mantra, I procrastinate, put it off till later, or decide that this is something that I would never forget so why bother with it right now?

You know why I should bother with it – because otherwise it will likely slip my brain and the important, thought tiny, mission will fly right out of the door. An easy example – keys. Have you ever misplaced yours? If not, you are a rarity as it seems keys are frequently lost in the daily shuffle. I may come in loaded with groceries including ice cream that will melt if not rushed to the freezer. My keys hang from a lanyard wrapped around my arm. As I thrust the bags onto my counter top, a natural tendency is to toss the keys there as well. As they rest on the counter they become entangled with the asparagus and guess what? The caboodle is chucked into the vegetable drawer. Later as I scan that everything is in its place, my mind recognizes that the keys are missing. I remember them clanging on the refrigerator so in my 2-minute challenge I should, I must, retrieve them now. If sadly I say to myself, “Oh, well, I’ll snatch them up later,” invariably when later arrives, the mystery of the keys transforms into a true mystery. Where could they have shuffled off to? If, being of sound mind, I immediately recover them and dangle them onto the chair knob, a problem is solved before it can happen.

Recently, after battling COVID and colds we made it to northern Idaho. Everything there is stored in a slightly different place than home, but there remains a familiar routine. Because of this chargers and phones are gathered upon parting, ice bags are slung into the cooler (of course they’ve been in the freezer), hats are on heads and keys are in hand. We always prepare our exit the night prior as a 12-hour drive ensues between Priest Lake and Winnemucca. This planning means a 6am climb into the car with sad farewells to follow is doable. This year, however, having pitched the 2 -minute idea to the wind, when I spied a hearing aid charger in a bowl on the bookshelf, I ignored it. Who would ever forget such a vital thing? The big (and favorite) straw hat rested atop the galvanized wash tub that hangs outside the back door. It would be impossible to miss as it is in clear view from the porch and from the front seat of the car. 

Well, of course, these were left behind. You might think that the simplicity of remembering would develop instantaneously, but we were far down the road – like 450 miles – before I glanced around in search of the hat. Oops! Then I spotted the hearing aids peeking out of an ear – I wondered (silently) if the charger had been loaded up. By Boise we knew that these were far, far away. While the hat can be replaced, as can the charger, the hat is relatively cheap. The charger, unfortunately, is $300+. I texted my sister knowing that she would be at the cabin in a few days and asked her to pop the small item in the mail (there is a rural post office just 5 miles away) and that she could wear the big hat on the plane when she flies to Boise next week. The mail plan is in action; the hat? I’ll only know her nerve when she emerges from the air terminal.

Arriving home, I have actively put the 2-minute deal into action. I’ve even extended this to 5-minute matters as that is much shorter than a 720 minute drive! Let me know how this works for you.