Thursday, July 12, 2007

2 Minutes or Less

I was reading What Is Anglicanism?, a great article about the Anglican/Episcopal church and the current state of our problems.  There's a timeline of how we ended up here, why Anglicanism is great and some ideas on where we really need to focus.  There's some real hope and promise here.

It's too bad no one is going to read it.

This article is 9 pages long.  Ok, there's a small buffer on the side with navigation, so let's put it at 7 pages of 8 by 10 single-spaced text.  That would equate to about 14 pages of a paperback book.

Let's say you read at an above-average speed.  Say 1 minute per page, all you speed readers can just shut-up.  It will take you 14 minutes to read this post and understand it.

Hold that thought while I digress.

I've been reading through Getting Things Done by David Allen.  I definitely recommend you pick this book up, I came very, very, very close to purchasing this for all the college students in our study group.  If you want to read it but don't have the cash, let me know and I'll buy you a copy.

One of the key practices that I've found useful is that if something takes under 2 minutes to complete, do it.  Anything over 2 minutes gets filed into your To-Do list or scheduled for another time.

Starting this 2 minute practice has helped me immensely.  My Inbox is always empty, since anything in it should either be taken care of immediately (most e-mail replies take far under 2 minutes) or put on the To-Do list for later and deleted from the inbox.

Almost all of my blog reading and article reading also falls into the 2 minute bucket.  I want to read a blog post or article within those two minutes, or I'll "save it for later" meaning that I'll never read it.  I'm sorry, but blogs and news articles just aren't important enough for me to spend large amounts of time on, when I could spend it being productive or with family and friends.

All of us have this same sort of thing wired in.  We call it impatience but really it's a recognition that our time is valuable and if we can't ingest the information quickly then it's not that important.  Dumb subconscious.

Ok, returning from digression.

Unless I have to read that article for work or I'm incredibly interested in the problem, I'm going to be overwhelmed and skip the whole thing.  As it is I missed chunks since I really skimmed a lot of it after the first page.  I have to think 99.9% of the world won't even stick around that long.

What's my point?

Whatever you are doing, think about the two minute rule.  If you're writing, keep it incredibly short, or offer a short synopsis.  If you're talking or telling a story, recognize that the attention span will wane quickly.

There are times when we can go deep and commit time to learning and understanding something.  But if you want to reach the people on the fringe, who are mildly or somewhat interested, 2 is the number of the day.

There's my thought, in under 2 pages (and still long)


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