4 Life Rules Worth Having

similar cubes with rules inscription on windowsill in building
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Life rules are only worth having if they protect or benefit you. Here are some rules you can adopt that will improve your life.

The 2 Minute Rule

If it takes 2 minutes or less, just do it. Why? Because the time and energy it takes to think about it and consider your options isn’t worth a task that only takes 2 minutes to complete.

David Allen came up with this rule in his book, Getting Things Done. It stands up well in practice and is timeless. It just works.

I’m not sure if 2 minutes is the sweet spot, but I think it’s very close. Also, every mini habit falls under the two minute umbrella! 

I try to remain mindful of the two minute rule, and when I practice it, I’m always amazed at how it helps me blaze through many menial but necessary tasks. You can go ahead and put your laundry into the washer now.

The No Overwhelm Rule

Fact: it’s impossible to be overwhelmed if you’re focused on doing something easy. That’s obvious, as overwhelm only comes from the sense that you can’t handle the burden you currently have.

Translated into action, to conquer overwhelm, you must be able to shrink your targets into something manageable. If you’re overwhelmed by having to write a long report by Wednesday, the answer is to zoom in on the first sentence of the first paragraph. Focus all of your attention on that very specific and doable task and you’ll feel an immediate difference. If you feel overwhelmed still, it’s because you’re not focused on what you can do now, but on what you need to do over a longer period of time. We can only live in the present moment, so as a rule, don’t try to do otherwise.

The Feelings Come Second Rule

I’ve been using a little trick lately to get me moving in the right direction. I use it whenever I don’t feel like doing what I want to do. I’ll simply say to myself (or out loud), “My feelings don’t control me.”

Weirdly enough, that phrase is often all I need to get past resistance. You can remind yourself of this as often as you’d like, and before you know it, you’ll be living how you want to live, instead of being a slave to your feelings.

The Good Teammate Rule

At times, you will argue in relationships. At times, you will act against your ideals. What’s the one thing that can help you deal with each situation? Being a good teammate.

Have you seen or been a part of an argument where it was clear that the two people involved didn’t merely disagree on something, but were actually against each other? If you’re against the other person, then no amount of logic or argument will change that. But if you’re on the same team as that person, no argument will tear you apart. Being a good teammate means that you look for common ground and seek the best for the other person (rather than trying to win). You seek to elevate each other instead of fight each other into the ground.

This concept also applies to your relationship with yourself. You can take the role of critic and judge, and berate yourself into a shame spiral… or you can be a good teammate to yourself. To be a good teammate to yourself, seek to understand yourself, support yourself when you make a mistake, and above all, be a friend to yourself. We all make mistakes, but not all of us forgive ourselves for making them. Forgive yourself. Support yourself. Love yourself.

Being a good teammate doesn’t preclude you from improving, it makes it more likely. Who has become great through shaming themselves? Nobody. Who has become great through cultivating self-respect? Many people. We’re all born with at least one supporter… ourselves. Don’t lose sight of how important that is.


For a life rule to be worthwhile, it needs to be the right answer in all circumstances. I think the four rules I’ve laid out are always appropriate. What do you think? What other rules would you add?

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