The One Minute Rule – You will LOVE it.

I hope you’re stoked for today’s post because I have a game changer in store for you. And while it promises big results, it also guarantees minimal effort.

You: Wait, what?

Me: Yep! Seriously.

One Minute Rule, organization, time management, happiness, strategy, Gretchen Rubin, happiness project, easy, chores, cleaning, tasks,

Today I’m sharing with you a little strategy called the One Minute Rule, which has made an incredible difference in my day-to-day life.

Do you know the saying, “work smarter, not harder?” This technique falls squarely into that category.

I learned this tip from Gretchen Rubin in her book, The Happiness Project. (I highly recommend checking it out; it’s fantastic.) Essentially, Rubin recounts her 12-month experiment of finding happiness by combining the “wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture.” It’s fascinating.

Before we dig into the one minute rule, however, let me provide a little background.

Last Monday, I offered you a list of organizational strategies – 26 to be exact – starting with the letter A and ending at the letter Z. Like Rubin, I’m a firm believer that by creating outer order in our lives, we simultaneously establish inner calm.

These 26 suggestions are a great way to help you get there.

With that being said, there are times when life gets too busy, and we are simply too exhausted to consider embarking on an organizational project. Believe me, I’ve been there, too. (Read: every night after work.)

Luckily, I have a solution. And this is where the one minute rule comes in.

One Minute Rule, organization, time management, happiness, strategy, Gretchen Rubin, happiness project, easy, chores, cleaning, tasks,

The One Minute Rule

What is the one minute rule, you ask?

Great question!

Simply put, the one minute rule suggests that whenever you come upon a task that you can complete in under one minute, do it without hesitation. Don’t pause to consider, and don’t tell yourself you’ll do it later. Instead, take those few seconds and accomplish the task then and there.

Now remember, I am not talking about the major items on your to-do list. In fact, these one-minute details don’t even make it on your to-do list. Rather, these tasks are the “little things” that, while seemingly insignificant, play a significant role in your everyday life.

Let me explain.

One Minute Rule, organization, time management, happiness, strategy, Gretchen Rubin, happiness project, easy, chores, cleaning, tasks,

When I say “little things,” I mean the everyday habits that you barely register while doing them.

For example, when you bring in the mail each day, do you take a minute to open the 2-3 important letters and recycle the junk? Or, are you like the rest of us who bring in the mail and leave it on the kitchen island to pile up with the rest of the week’s mail? (Guilty!)

Let’s change that simple habit.

Instead of putting the unopened mail in its usual pile today, take one minute to recycle the junk (that’s what most of it is anyway!) and open the 1-2 letters that might be of importance.

Similarly, rather than leaving your coat on the back of the chair and your shoes at the front door, put them away in the entryway closet.

Instead of sticking your breakfast bowl in the sink, rinse it out and put it in the dishwasher.

Is someone waiting on a quick email that literally requires a yes or no? Send it off now and get it out of your inbox.

These are such simple tasks, yet for some reason, we put them off. In fact, perhaps it is because they are so basic that we tell ourselves, “I’ll get to that later, it will only take a minute.” (Sound familiar?)

Stop putting off those tasks

The problem is, when we put off those tiny tasks, we never actually get to them later.

Instead, those little tasks accumulate and create an invisible weight on our shoulders that pull us down. What’s more, because they are such minutiae, it’s difficult to even recognize the root cause of our tension at all.

If you stop for a minute, however, and you really look around your home, you’ll see the culprit of that stress; it’s your 4 pairs of shoes laying by the front door, your coat on the back of the chair, your sink filled with dishes, and the stack of mail on your kitchen counter.

If you just take 60 seconds, however, and you put these things away right when you have the opportunity, the work is done; you don’t have to remember to “get to it later,” because you already did.

Now, I realize this might sound like a pretty basic strategy. But that’s not a bad thing.

In fact, I’ve been following this rule for a few years now, and I can’t tell you how much of a difference it has made in my life. And all in short 60-second intervals!

one minute rule

Let me give you an example

To give you a simple analogy, the one-minute rule is like wiping down the kitchen counters every night after dinner.

Rather than letting the mess build up throughout the week, you’re simultaneously keeping on top of things while also establishing both outer order and inner calm. What’s more, you’re doing this all in under 60 seconds. What more could you ask for?

Have I piqued your interest? Are you looking for a few suggestions to get you started? No problem! Here is a list of 10 things you can easily do in one minute or less.

  1. Make your bed
  2. Pick up the dirty clothes from your floor and put them in a hamper
  3. Recycle old newspapers and magazines
  4. Clean your phone with a disinfecting wipe
  5. Answer a quick email
  6. Rinse out your coffee pot
  7. Fold up your throw blankets and straighten the pillows on your couch.
  8. Take expired coupons/old news off your refrigerator
  9. Wipe down your bathroom mirror
  10. Throw away the old receipts piling up in your wallet/purse

Simple right?

Can I interest you in a few more suggestions? Great! How about 60 of them? Click here for a free list and get rid of that little stuff TODAY!

One Minute Rule, organization, time management, happiness, strategy, Gretchen Rubin, happiness project, easy, chores, cleaning, tasks,


What would you add to the one minute list? Have you tried this approach before? Are you willing to give it a shot? Let me know below!

(Updated: June 30, 2019)

70 thoughts on “The One Minute Rule – You will LOVE it.”

  1. Brittany Limberakis

    This is such a great rule to follow. I mean why is it that something so simple doesn’t get done even though as people we are constantly trying to make life less stressful. I need to remember this from now on!

  2. This is a good rule! I’ve heard of this before, as the 2-minute rule and I think it’s something so simple but really makes a difference 🙂

    Hope that you are having a wonderful weekend 🙂 It’s been a quiet one for us, with the rain!

  3. Forever Green Mom

    I do love your one-minute-rule. It’s doable and very proactive. Thanks for your well-written article.

  4. Hi, I’ve been hearing a little bit about this lately and I love the idea of a 60 second rule! I actually have started applying it, especially with all the junk mail we receive! The funny thing is when you start applying this rule to one thing, it seems to snowball into other things as well. Which is the point, I guess! But, it’s a great concept. Thanks! Melissa Damiani | Gratitude Grace Glamour

  5. I straighten my couch a couple of times a day and it is quick. Noone here has ever left clothes on the floor, it’s unacceptable and if they did they’d have no clothes and that problem would be solved ;-).

  6. Do you know how many tasks that I put off that would only take a minute to do?!? I pass by clothes on the bathroom floor thinking “don’t have time to clean the bathroom.” I do this every time I walk into the bathroom. I just now went and picked them up and it only took a minute to do it. I think I have a lazy mindset that needs to be shifted. Thanks for the prompting.

  7. I am so guilty of leaving stuff for later to pile up. I love this and I definitely want to put it to use with my children too!

  8. And I thought it was aging that was the reason I don’t do something right away that only takes a minute! Glad to know it’s not just me. I’m going to take your word on this and start….tomorrow!!

  9. This is a great idea. We do something similar. I have 6 kids and we homeschool, so we have a 5 minute rule where a couple times a day we stop everything, and we all run through the house together and tidy for 5 minutes. Of course it gets messy again quickly with so many little children, but this practice helps keep the house from getting out of hand!

  10. I like the idea of attempting to do a task in less than a minute to accomplish at least most of my work in a day. I love this idea!

  11. Ah, this is so simple yet seems like such a game-changer! I feel like I naturally like to do a lot of one-minute things because it feels good to not have things piling on top of each other and I just feel more organized, but you have so many extras to add to my list! I’m really guilty of stupid little things, like leaving my coffee cup out haha. I’ll definitely be more conscious with the one-minute rule!

  12. Love this strategy. So simple and effective…but only when it is done. I don’t always put things away when I should and it is pain to keep looking at a mess. However, when I’m inspired and put things away quickly (within that first minute), I am much calmer. Thanks for the reminder to make the one minute rule a part of my daily routine. 🙂

  13. This was sooo eye opening to those small tasks we just push aside! I’m all about the making your bed one. I swear it makes your day so much better to walk into your room at night with a made bed! lol.

  14. I think this is one of my biggest challenges. I tend to put these menial tasks off and I should just get them over with.

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  16. themindfulmomblographer

    I love this rule! And the printable with examples is great. I have been hearing a lot about this book, I think that is a sign I need to read it. I LOVE what you shared about the belief that if we can calm outer chaos (obviously paraphrasing here), that we can achieve inner calmness. I am DEFINITELY this way.

  17. Stellar post and I love that this has a name!! I actually try and do this a lot as I’m avoiding the biggger items on my to do list – hence why you’re A-Z list is a priority for me!!

    1. Ha! Yes, that is always a draw back…it is easy to fall into the quick and simple stuff rather than the big projects. I’ve definitely been there! These are great things to do when you have a limited amount of time 🙂

  18. It is amazing what we can accomplish in only one minute. I do several of these but could improve and make life that much easier around the house.

    1. Yes! I’m always amazed at how much we can accomplish in such a short amount of time. It’s great that you’re already incorporating a lot of these strategies 🙂

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