Issue 27 Apr 23, 2023

If it takes less than two minutes, do it


I’m afraid it’s a short one today as I’m (still) sick, but at least the fever’s down.

I’d like to talk about productivity, and the one rule that I stay true to. It has helped me a lot over the years, and while I can dabble and change various systems up, this one stays.

It is: If it takes less than two minutes, do it.

Can you answer that email in less than two minutes? Do it.

Will it take you less than two minutes to research something? Do it.

Can you read that piece someone sent you under two minutes? Do it.

The purpose is to remove things from the backlog. If you get an email you know you’re going to reply to, but you put it away to do later, the knowledge of a task in the future burrow itself into the back of your head. It’s another thing that takes up head-space, and those things add up. Suddenly, there are many things spinning around back there, you’re starting to get stressed.

My arguing is that, if you read the email and can tick it off as done by hitting reply, getting it off your plate in two minutes or less, then that’s a good thing. You won’t have to worry about it later because it’s done.

This rule has helped me a lot over the years. There are many things that reach me, one way or another, that I want to act on. They become tasks, sometimes defined ones in a todo list, but other times it’s something I know, in the back of my head, that I’ll have to do at some point. I have systems to handle this, and they work, but they work better if they’re not overloaded. As long as I don’t let potential two minute tasks interrupt me, but rather reach me when I should, say, check my email, and not as a notification while I’m doing deep work, it’s a good rule and system. Life, and work, is stressful enough as it is.


📸 Camera site DPReview is closing, but it seems as if it might stick around a while longer anyway? As confusing as that sounds, it’s a shame. I’ve consulted reviews on potential purchases on said site many times.

🦃 Elon Musk continues to wreck havoc on Twitter. The legacy blue verified tick was removed in favor of one requiring the Blue subscription. The tick was later reinstated for high profile accounts, possibly to combat the movement to block people paying for the site, which would be the ones with the tick. NPR and PBS have both left Twitter due to “government funded” labels, but those have since been reverted. Oh, and policies regarding intentional misgendering was quietly removed, too. If we know one thing about Twitter, it’s that nothing’s certain.

🕵️‍♂️ Israeli actor Topol was a Mossad agent claims family. I bet there were lots of snickering about the James Bond movie, For your eyes only, he featured in.

🧱 Have you seen the Tetris movie? Then why not build a Game Boy out of Lego? I love these silly things.

🤖 What’s the point of reading writing buy humans is the title of an interesting piece on AI content. I’m not going to spoil it, it’s worth a read.

Got something I should read? Send it to me, either by replying to this letter, or tweeting to @tdh. Thanks!


📚 I needed a cleanser after Bret Easton Ellis’s The rules of attraction so it’s back to Roger Zelazny’s Amber series, with Sign of the unicorn.

🎵 I’ve been alternating between From the inside and Lace and whiskey this week. Yep, those are old Alice Cooper albums.

📺 We watched the Tetris movie. It was enjoyable but forgettable.

🎮 It’s been quite a bit of Breath of the Wild this week, but I got inspired and tried the Game Boy Tetris version on Switch. Turns out I prefer the original, so I’m charging my Analogue Pocket as I’m typing this.

I was too feverish to send a letter last week, and it was even doubtful this’d get done. Luckily the worst of whatever bug I’ve got seem to have passed, so here we are. Assuming I don’t get worse, you’ll get the next letter on time, possibly sent from Berlin, or scheduled beforehand.

Until then, take care.

— Thord D. Hedengren ⚡

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