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.
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.
The One Minute Rule
What is the one minute rule, you ask?
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.
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!
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.
- Make your bed
- Pick up the dirty clothes from your floor and put them in a hamper
- Recycle old newspapers and magazines
- Clean your phone with a disinfecting wipe
- Answer a quick email
- Rinse out your coffee pot
- Fold up your throw blankets and straighten the pillows on your couch.
- Take expired coupons/old news off your refrigerator
- Wipe down your bathroom mirror
- Throw away the old receipts piling up in your wallet/purse
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!
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)