Atomic Habits: The 2 Minute Rule
Posted on Jan 23rd, 2023
One of the reliable ways to organise habits which I found from Atomic Habits, which works for me, is ‘Keep Track of Your Habits‘. The suggestion is to organise a way to track your habits, to start with, and for this, since I am highly tech oriented, I got the cleanest minimal habit manager on my mobile, an Android phone. Loop Habit Tracker, on f-droid. The 3 main habits which have push notification reminders for me are:
- 5:30am Check ‘To Do’
- 5:45am Exercise
- 5pm Refresh ‘To Do’
This way I bug myself at the start, and end, of every day. It’s meant to help achieve the goals I’ve set each day. It only takes a small amount of time to track the recurring habits, approximately twice a day.
The 2-Minute Rule applies to all the other habits you have in the day which you have trouble fulfilling. Lower the time you need to spend. Usually for the habits you need this rule on: when you’ve done the 2 minutes, stop, then move onto the next habit when you have another moment. Spending a long enough time with the rule you can slowly move it upwards into longer time sprints. I’ve found for my 2 minute rule that I just need to stick to a slight adjustment on the rule: they’re always a minimum 2 minutes, and it has helped me get way more done.
That being said, as you will notice on my record on the 21st, when halfway through the habits, there will be days you don’t fulfill it all.
I’ve been selective for choosing what to move into the 2 minutes. Theme may always be days in which you need a break from them, anyway, such as my Friday the 20th. While it is easy enough to just make habits smaller and smaller to start out, I can’t force the 2-minute rule on some of them; they fall, technically, into the scope of ‘it always needs longer than that’. So for the novel work – in the limit I can likely get through one more paragraph, edited for the release of my novel. That’s why I try stick to the minimums.
As another example, my programming habit is for my personal programming projects, my method to Improve Focus is at least useful – focus on a single programming project as much as I can. It takes longer, as whatever I program I need to take time to consider what I will do as the next step in implementation – so it helps to swap to another project when time is needed for consideration. I have it set to be done every day, it’s just nice to have an off day every now and then. Take a break when you need to.
This leads to another idea from Atomic Habits which helps tremendously. When you skip a day, the following day is required, so you have to fulfil it for yourself. Note in the image above, it isn’t in order, just that it helps in a tremendous way, so I’ve found it to be extremely helpful. Until the habit is properly built it’s too easy to forget. Never mind forgetfulness, at times anyone can be demotivated to fulfil a habit. The rule to force a habit on the day after a skipped day has helped the habits to do way more.
It is shared differently in multiple places, but I’ve found it takes around just over 2 months of consistent habit use to build any habit. This means for the daily habits it will still take a long while to build if I finally managed to stay consistent now. The 2 rules are a tremendous help, because of that I’ve checked my To Do in the morning the 9 days left in December, and all days in Jan to today. In my programming I’ve skipped 1 day this Jan, the 2 minute habits I’ve moved from around 20% at the start up to 50% now in Jan, and my YouTube episode work at 5 minutes sits at around 50%.
All it would take is a small adjustment to your habits to help you build more habits, and become more reliable at fulfulling them.