Productivity guru and Getting Things Done author David Allen discusses what he calls the curse of the eternally urgent, the cycle in which we feel like we’re constantly putting out fires.
Ignoring secondarily important actions and projects because you are too busy and concerned with urgent things fosters continual crisis management. It never self-corrects; it self-perpetuates. Where do fires and crises come from? Usually from not-so-urgent things that people ignore because they are distracted by the crises of the moment. Then, ignored, they cause the next fires and crises.
It’s easy to get focus only on putting out one fire and lose track of fires starting up all around you, but Allen suggests that by following his two-minute rule (if an action takes less than two minutes, do it right away), you can go a long way toward cutting down on this sort of crisis perpetuation. If you like the idea and want a little help implementing the two-minute rule, check out the Two Minute Timer, which—very simply—runs for two minutes and then goes off. Thanks Autumn!