1 Minute Rule

I’ve just implemented the “1 Minute Rule” in my life, inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s own “One Minute Rule.”  What exactly is the “1 Minute Rule“?

What it calls for is very simple:

If there’s anything you can do within one minute, just do it now.

It’s quite phenomenal what “mundane small tasks” we manage to procrastinate on, many times for the fact that they are so mundane and small.

But in the end, they pile up like leaves, and pretty soon you’re trudging through inches thick of dried, crinkling leaves, beginning their decay at the bottom layer (I don’t know what I was trying to get at with this analogy, but whatever).

There are many things that can be accomplished within a minute (or in my case, since I’m just a slow person, maybe 2 minutes).  Anything from putting washing dishes, putting them away, throwing away junk mail, writing up a to-do list, to getting my work bag ready for tomorrow.

I decided to implement this rule in my life 30 minutes ago, and so far, here’s what I’ve done:

  1. Do dishes (Now I can drink my home-made cold brew without having to wash my favorite mason jar mug in the morning!)
  2. Pack tomorrow’s lunch (Yay chili… Again… For the… Fourth time in 3 days…)
  3. Take out the trash (Yay no more rotting things in my apartment…)
  4. Start this blog post (What a great idea for a writer’s block!)
  5. Take my vitamins/fish oil/pain meds (Otherwise I’d wake up at 2am in excruciating pain)
  6. Get more water and drink it (I always need more water)
  7. Update my planner (Finish out my planner entry for today’s To-Do lists, and organize my To-Do’s for tomorrow)
  8. Lay out tomorrow’s clothes (Figuring out what to wear in the morning is actually fairly stressful for me)
  9. Pack gym clothes (No more excuses….?)

I have been trying to begin the habit of being in bed, lights and phone turned off by 10:30PM, and getting up at 6AM on weekdays.  This gives me around 7 hours of sleep (after a while, I’d like to get a bit more sleep in), and about an hour of time for me to get ready for work.

I spend the hour organizing my day in my planner (so I have all my To-Do’s and focus points fresh in my mind before I begin my day), drinking my cold-brew coffee, eating a small breakfast, and catching up on whatever news or social network updates and e-mails that passed through at night.  I also need to take my vitamin pills, and more importantly, my pain killers, so they start more or less being effective by the time I get to work.

I am definitely not a morning person, but when I can wake up early, I feel more alert, awake, and energetic when I get to work (presumably because I’ve already eaten, drank coffee, and been up for 2 hours by that point). It really did seem counter-intuitive when I was contemplating it, but I’m surprised at the energy level I am able to sustain  when I’m up early.  At least until I’ve eaten lunch and have a food-coma, anyways.

Having the small To-Do’s cleared out with the “1 Minute Rule” will de-clutter my morning even more, hopefully allowing me to leave for work unhurriedly and relaxed. I used to live the “Get-Out-Of-Bed-5-Minutes-After-I’m-Supposed-To-Be-Leaving-The-House” hustle, but I am sick and tired of being sick and tired, so a habit change was in season.

Since I’d have packed my lunch the night before, and washed my favorite mug, I can pour myself coffee and just slip the packed lunch into my bag, which would save me 5-10 minutes. Clothes laid out, bags packed, another 5-10 minutes. Trash taken out means I don’t have to drag it down in the morning to keep things from rotting throughout the day in the apartment.

The little tasks that could clog up my morning and add to my mental To-Do list really does add up, once I sit back and think about it.  I am constantly looking for more and more ways to “automate” my daily tasks and routines, to free up my time and mental energy for other things, specifically hobbies and enrichment activities.

Next Morning

Update: It’s 6:53AM, and I have a few minutes before I head out the door for the day. I’ve tried the “1 Minute Rule” this morning to the following effect:

  1. Made my bed (I’ve heard this is supposed to do you a lot of good, but I personally haven’t seen effects yet;  It’s supposed to make me feel more organized or something, but I’m not sure; I figure why not, though)
  2. Drank glass of water (Waterrrrr)
  3. Put in new trash bag into trash can (In my valor of taking trash out last night, I forgot to put in a new trash bag…)
  4. Made next batch of Cold Brew Coffee (Since it takes 12-18 hours to “brew,” I’d have to make it either before work, or right after I get home from work)
  5. Took Vitamins and Pain Killers (Out of order with my “Usual routine,” but before I forgot to do it and regretted it later)
  6. Brought out extra rolls of toilet paper (I’m always the one to bring them out, but then again, I probably use it more than my roommate does)

I’ve come to realize that while “Do It Now!” is indeed a good mantra, because of my poor short-term memory, I have tendency to forget things that I was doing before I noticed something and broke my concentration/flow to do it. So this definitely is a hit or miss concept that I’m going to have to iron out…

“1 Minute Rule”

Have you ever tried anything like the “1 Minute Rule“? How do you like it? Did it work for you? If not, would you consider trying it out, just to see how it could impact your life?

Hiroko Nishimura
AWS Community Hero. Special Education teacher turned IT Engineer turned Technical Writer. Author "AWS for Non-Engineers" (Manning Publications). Technical Instructor "Introduction to AWS for Non-Engineers" (LinkedIn Learning).

2 thoughts on “1 Minute Rule”

  1. I’ve never tried the one minute rule, but it seems like a really great idea. I’m always putting off tasks until they absolutely have to be done, even though they’re not big tasks. This usually leaves me dreading doing them for no reason whatsoever. I’m sure I’d be much happier if I tried doing this!

    It’s a great idea to start by doing a minute on a blog post. I always struggle to get started on things, so I bet that works really well. And it’d be so good for the washing up. I HATE washing up. I avoid it for as long as possible!

    Good luck keeping up with this, it’s seems great.

    Yes, I think we are theme buddies! This is definitely one of the best presets WordPress has, I love it!

  2. I’ve heard about the 1 minute rule! I think it’s a good idea because there’s not really a good reason to procrastinate on things you can do so quickly. It’s not something I’ve kept in mind, but I feel like I mostly do it already. I’d rather just get things done as I see them. For example, I wash dishes after every meal and put away laundry right away, instead of letting them pile up. I’m not good about dealing with junk mail as I get it though, so that’s something I can improve on!

    I think that’s great that you’ve de-cluttered your mornings by preparing more at night! I try to do the same, so my morning really just consists of eating breakfast and then getting ready for the day. I make sure my lunch and laptop bag are good to go the night before. It’s nice when you don’t have to rush in the morning 🙂

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