The One Minute Rule
If you have a desire to gain a bit more control of your cluttered home and brain, The One Minute Rule is a great place to start.
I first came across the One Minute Rule when I read the Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. It’s a pretty simple concept, so I’m not sure if it’s “an invention” or just the articulate expression of some common sense, but guess what? It works.
So how does it go?
When faced with any small task that can be completed in under one minute, complete it right now.
But think of the implications. A lot of the clutter in your house, workspace and mind can be traced back to simple tasks that can be completed in under a minute. Cumulative addition of all these unfinished tasks creates mess, confusion, overwhelm and an increase in procrastination. At worst, it can make you feel paralyzed into never tackling half of them.
Consider these one minute fixes: Bringing the mail in? Read it and file or dispose, rather than dropping it on the end of the bench. Use the scissors or a pen? Return it to its real home. Hang your jacket up in the wardrobe, not on the back of the chair. Return the floor toys to the box. Stick that knife in the dishwasher, not on the edge of the sink. Socks come off your feet and into the washing hamper. Put the lid back on the jam jar and put it back in the fridge. Make your bed. Put away the folded laundry. Wipe the bench clean after making your sandwich.
The cumulative result of all these tasks is an impressive decrease in clutter. And for me, less clutter equals a better sense of order and inner calm. And don’t underestimate the power of the glow of achievement and self-satisfaction that can result from finishing small, nagging tasks.
Having a “rule” is a good way to fight procrastination. At the first sign of your brain justifying leaving a job… “I’ll get to it later” you simply say, “NO. If it takes under a minute it Gets Done Now.” Don’t give yourself an option to argue the case - the internal argument is likely to take more than a minute anyway....
One Minute Jobs Just Get Done.
With stress, feeling ill or tired and many other factors, it can be easy to let rules like this slip, but regularly keep checking in with yourself and dragging this rule to the top of the pile, as it is achievable even under the toughest of circumstances. It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort, so is much more sustainable than many other more lofty goals you may have and the results can be spectacular. It can also be easily shared with other members of the family, even little ones, so you can all bask in the benefits.
It’s not a grand plan, but trust me. It can be life-changing.
If you want to read more of Gretchen Rubin’s thoughts on tangibly increasing your personal happiness through measurable goals, developing constructive habits and decluttering for your own sanity, check out her books here. She also has a podcast.
If you happen to want to purchase motivation for your wall in clock form (or otherwise), I have made a design for you here.