Do you ever wonder if life couldn’t be easier? Just easy enough so you won’t be completely overwhelmed and stressed out by the tasks at hand? Insert the one-minute rule – this little trick will make life easier one minute at a time.
The one-minute rule is something that Gretchen Rubin talks about in her book, The Happiness Project. It’s simple: you do any task that takes one minute to do the moment you realize it. For example, when you have finished your meal, don’t just put your plates in the kitchen. Take 30 seconds to rinse them and put them in the dishwasher.
It is so incredibly simple. Is it effective? According to Gretchen Rubin, this will keep the “small, nagging tasks under control” and makes her less overwhelmed.
The impact of this rule
I am very good at putting the small things off and doing them later, which is when things start to pile up, and I’m getting stressed out. Instead of spending your brainpower on worrying about these small tasks, do them immediately.
Three areas where the one-minute rule has helped me improve: email, tidying up the apartment, and my social life.
I have been trying for years to be part of the inbox zero club. There always seem to-dos that have priority, and I never actually got my inbox to zero. Now I just reply to emails that require a short response. These emails aren’t cluttering my inbox anymore, which frees up time and mental energy to longer emails that require more work.
My email inbox no longer overwhelms me, and I have control over my inbox.
For me, it is easy to ignore the mess in our apartment for a couple of days and do nothing about it. We will leave clothes on the floor, piles of paper on all tables, and chargers in every room. Every week we spend some time rage cleaning, frustrated with the state of the apartment. We keep wondering how it could get so out of hand.
I’m naturally chaotic, and putting things where they belong doesn’t occur to me at the moment. With the one-minute rule, I am training myself to do it right away.
Most of my friends complain that I am terrible at responding to social media or Whatsapp messages. I will take anywhere from several hours to several weeks to respond to messages. Why? Because I know that once I start to reply to messages, they come boomerang back to me.
With the one-minute rule, I’m no longer overwhelmed by dozens of messages when I open my phone. There are no longer 20 different messages waiting for my reply at any given moment.
All in all
The one-minute rule shows that little things add up. It doesn’t work for all the chores and to-dos in your life, but it works great for reducing stress and anxiety.
A side benefit of the one-minute rule is that you’ll have more time on your hands. There will be no endless lists of things you need to do after you’ve finished working.
The impact of taking care of the small and seemingly insignificant responsibilities is beyond what I would have imagined. These tasks can easily save you an hour of extra work after an exhausting day at the office.