The One Minute Rule

60 seconds

I’m always trying to get organized.  Checking boxes on my ever growing to do list is one of my great joys.  It’s tough to know how much time to dedicate to getting things in order, especially when there are so many demands on my time (kids, work, husband, yoga, cooking, education, this blog, etc.).  In the book “The Happiness Project”, Gretchen Rubin suggests an organizational rule of thumb that was so simple that I almost completely dismissed it.  But, now I think of it often and employ it frequently and it goes something like this, “Never put off anything you can complete in one minute”.  I call it the one-minute-rule.

At first, I would glance at dirty dishes and think “I can crank that out in 1 minute.  Let’s get ‘er done.”  Simple, satisfying, walk away.  As I applied the one-minute-rule, I realized its power and I realized how much I was putting off that could easily be taken care of without thought.  Just mindlessly apply the one-minute-rule.

So, here are some things that can be done in one minute:

  • Reply to an email from an old friend
  • Turn off lights
  • Check if a fish is sustainable before eating (The Monterrey Bay Aquarium has a great site and Ap called Seafood Watch)
  • Match socks
  • Hang a picture
  • Sign an online petition (here’s a good one to Get Money Out of politics)
  • Brush my dog’s fur (greatly reduces shedding!)
  • Read an article that my husband sent me – (here are a few recent gems… one about social entrepreneurs from  ViewChange and one about greenhouses on Treehugger)
  • Bring in outside pillows before a rain
  • Put food in a bell jar (nuts, apple slices, cheese, dried fruit) to keep them fresh
  • Open the shades to let in the light and heat from the sun
  • Stash away the winter coats
  • Pour myself a glass of water
  • Help others get clean water – donate your voice at Water.Org
  • Pick up and recycle unwanted newspapers, flyers (phone books, really?) etc. left on our front door (and try not to get angry about it)
  • Grab a chico bag or any reusable bag to take with me wherever I go
  • Floss – it will make your teeth last longer
  • Make an appointment to give blood (you can do this online at LifeSource)
  • Take a vitamin and/or probiotic
  • Water a planter or window box

Wow!  It really adds up.  And the best thing is I don’t have to prioritize, I don’t have to make a to do list, I don’t have to put any thought to it.  If it’s a task that can be completed in one minute, then I complete it.  And, it’s like it took no time at all.

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