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Think big and act small. Leslie Koch
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« Top 10 Tips for Keeping Your Life Moving | Main | Structuring the Day »

The One Minute Rule

There’s a great post by Gretchen Rubin on her blog “The Happiness Project” on her “one-minute rule”.

It’s very simple: I must do any task that can be finished in one minute. Hang up my coat, read a letter and toss it, fill in a form, answer an email, note down a citation, pick up my phone messages, file a paper, put a dish in the dishwasher, replenish the diaper supply by the changing table, put the magazines away…and so on.

If you live in chaos, most of the disorganisation isn’t caused by failing to do big things; it’s caused by failing to do thousands of tiny little things.

Reader Comments (5)

There's a somewhat tongue-in-cheek response to Gretchen's post on the Marginal Revolution blog:
Marginal Revolution: The One-Minute Rule

MR is a blog written by some liberatarian economists at George Mason University. Quite enjoyable, in its way.
December 21, 2006 at 13:23 | Unregistered CommenterMike Brown
Posted in MR blog by her: "Someone posted to tell me about David Allen--shoot, I thought I was being so ingenious and original! and someone had thought of the very same idea before."

"Two-Minute Rule" from David Allen's Getting Things Done book is a much better approach. Its intention is to show how many things we can accomplish in a short interval. Plus this rule has a proper phase to be applied, that is while processing. Otherwise, we can do a lot of little things to avoid the real work.

Other methods like Sandra Felton "Messies Anonymous" or Fly Lady introduce this concept in a better way. It is also mentioned in many ADD websites as an important tip for people easily distracted.

December 21, 2006 at 15:35 | Unregistered CommenterSilvia
I think it's important here to distinguish between Gretchen's one-minute rule and David Allen's two-minute rule. They are not quite the same thing.

The one-minute rule is about putting things away when we've finished with them, hanging our coats up rather than leaving them on the chair, filing papers rather than leaving them in a pile, that sort of thing. These are all things which should never get to the stage of needing to be a formal "task".

I know Gretchen mentions dealing with things like e-mails, which overlap with David Allen's 2-minute rule, but I think she's wrong there. The one-minute rule is not about how to deal with tasks, but about how to stop things becoming tasks in the first place. As such it is very valuable.
December 21, 2006 at 15:58 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
hum... I think this is MF's one-minute rule and it is a very good rule indeed."How to stop things becoming tasks in the first place.
The one-minute rule is about putting things away when we've finished with them". Thanks.

December 29, 2006 at 3:18 | Unregistered CommenterSilvia
Thank you, Silvia. You put it much better than I did!
December 29, 2006 at 11:05 | Registered CommenterMark Forster

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