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Career Focus

The 2 minute rule for employment Preparation

By LISA TRUDEL - January 9 2024

This year I read a book by James Clear titled “Atomic Habits”.  One of the chapters mentioned the “2-Minute Rule” which helps with procrastination, breaking old habits, and building new healthy ones.  This idea was first created by David Allen in his book, “Getting Things Done” and the basic meaning is:  if you can do an action in two minutes or less, tackle it at the moment instead of delaying it.

The 2-Minute Rule can help to keep you motivated when you are unemployed, underemployed, or seeking a new job.  However, understanding the context is essential when deciding if you can apply it.  For example, there are always some important tasks that demand your full attention and require a deep dive of time, so using this rule won’t qualify. Yet, there could be easy tasks that you can complete in just a few minutes.  

One of the nice parts of the 2-Minute Rule is that it is flexible because 2 minutes is just a guideline. If you have an open window of time you can extend the cut-off time for each task to 5 minutes or even 10 minutes. 

Here is a list of 15 ideas connected to employment preparation that you could use the 2-Minute Rule for:

  1. Creating a Gmail address if you still use a Hotmail or Yahoo account. Employers seldom reply to these 2 older email addresses. 
  2. Creating an email signature that includes your name, email, and phone number so you always have consistency in your e-messages.
  3. Drafting a response to a pending email even just to say “Thank you. I received your email and appreciate the assistance you gave me.”
  4. Organizing the workspace you use at home.
  5. Writing the first line of your resume “summary”.  Creating and editing one sentence is always easier than writing 500 to 600 words which is the average length of a resume that will pass an ATS scanner. 
  6. Saving a contact on your phone that you have been meaning to add.
  7. Deleting 6 junk emails.
  8. Reading the first page of a company website you have been wanting to research.
  9. Decluttering your emails by unsubscribing from 2 annoying emails that you don’t even bother reading.
  10. Subscribing to 2 free online newsletters that you hope will give you new inspiration and information.
  11. Checking a free online learning site such as and selecting 2 Certificate courses you want to take in the next 6 months.
  12. Watching a YouTube video on how to write an impressive cover letter.
  13. Researching a TedTalk video with Amy Cuddy, Social Psychologist and Speaker, that you might want to watch in the future. She talks about “power posing” to gain confidence and how important body language is at job interviews and in the workplace.
  14. Improving your knowledge about DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusivity and accessibility) by checking out the e-learning section of and finding and eventually taking, their free 15-minute course on Creating Diversity, Sensitivity and Inclusion. Or finding a free course you want to take at:
  15. Preparing to teach yourself about ChatGPT by bookmarking the cheat sheet reference guides at or

These 15 ideas are valuable starting points for the 2-Minute Rule if you want to manage your job search anxiety, move forward with your productivity, and manage your time management skills. By doing small things immediately, you can overcome a lack of motivation and willpower. There are genuine benefits to all actions when it comes to developing new habits and accomplishing goals.  

This article was written by Lisa Trudel, Career Specialist with Achēv at 100 Lombard Street in downtown Toronto. Achēv is funded by Employment Ontario.  You can contact Lisa at

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