The “20-Second Rule” was created by happiness guru Shawn Achor and discussed in depth in his best-selling book, The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work. Achor could not find a way to motivate himself to learn to play guitar, something he always wanted to do. Getting his guitar ready took only 20 seconds, but those seconds were a deterrent. Achor’s solution? Keep the guitar unpacked and nearby so that it was ready when he was motivated to practice. After doing this, he practiced for 21 days straight.
Keep those items that make you more productive or on which you want to work within 20 seconds of reach--for example, a business book you’re reading or a stretch project that needs completion. In that same vein, keep all the negative things--junk food or time-wasters--outside a 20-second grasp, to make them harder to access.