In my previous post I talked about an entrepreneurial shipping ritual (habit) I wanted to establish.

The ritual (in which I start my workday by writing out a todo list for each of my projects) has been very effective. I’ve felt more focused and productive over the past couple of weeks.

Here’s today’s todo list.


Still, today was an exception. I wrote out the todo list but didn’t dive into action. The items on the list seemed too big.

  • Build a landing page
  • Begin doing research around google ads…
  • Blog about a project…

This got me thinking… maybe I need to change my approach.

Instead of writing todos maybe I should be creating a “2-minute” ritual task-list.

What are rituals?

What are rituals? The basic idea is that we need quick and easy ways to transition from ‘I don’t know / feel like doing stuff’ to… ‘I’m losing track of time as I work’. Artists start their work with warmup sketches, improvisers start their practices with quick word games, athletes start their workout with stretches. That’s the kind of thing I’m thinking about.

What are 2-minute rituals?

A 2-minute ritual would be a task that I 100% can accomplish, in 2 minutes or less.

For example:

  • “Build a landing page” might become “take out a piece of paper and spend 2 minutes sketching landing page concepts and working on page copy”
  • “Do research around google ads” might become “spend 2 minutes researching keyword ideas (with prices) for 5 keyword ads I could buy for my Freelance Map project”
  • “Blog post about projects” might become “spend 2 minutes writing a blog post intro or brainstorming some topics”

The key would be to make the tasks super small -> on-ramps to kick off projects.

I’d still shoot for getting things done (I’ve been recording my work in Michael Lynch’s excellent “What Got Done” app), but I’d grade the day on whether or not I had gone through the rituals.

Why these ideas matter (2 hours after finishing the previous paragraph)

I’m writing this paragraph 2 hours after the “What is a 2-minute ritual” paragraph.

In the past 2 hours I’ve added code to resize (optimize) all the images on this blog. I’ve fixed issues I found on older posts and I’ve done a bunch of other editing-related tasks.

I’m feeling quite motivated. I’m happy that I’m going to be able to check this post off of my todo list. I got a lot of stuff done.

When I started writing I felt completely different - unmotivated, aimless, not clear on my next steps.

It reminds me of a paragraph I once read in a book ~ “Some people believe that motivation preceeds action, others believe the opposite.”

I guess I am learning that I believe motivation follows action.

This little ritual (writing the first paragraph of a blog post) has taken me on a journey where I got a lot of stuff done. I’m going to try altering my work-day ritual and see if it increases my productivity further with these smaller 2-minute rituals.

I’ll keep you posted.