There are a million books and articles on productivity, full of plenty of good theories, but we always gravitate toward practical tips that anyone can apply to their everyday life. That’s why we love the work of Gretchen Rubin, author of the New York Times Bestseller The Happiness Project. She’s an expert in happiness and habit formation and the queen of practical tips to make life easier. This week, we’re giving a shoutout to her one-minute rule tip for productivity. It’s simple: If something takes a minute or less, do it now.
Here’s the theory: Big tasks are tough—that major project, the planning for the upcoming event—but it’s the more mundane things that, when they add up, feel draining and overwhelming. It’s the dishes in the sink, which piled up one by one, or the inbox of emails, full of little questions and reminders that take little energy but feel inconvenient to respond to. These are the things that tend to drain our energy. But they are also easy to cross off your list if they only take a minute. Another benefit? As Rubin says:
“One nice thing about the “one-minute rule” is that I don’t have to think about priorities. When I stop to think, “Should I tidy up the playroom or pay bills?” or “Should I answer emails or run my computer back-up program?” I sometimes end up feeling that whatever I’m doing is the wrong thing. But with the “one-minute rule,” I do anything that presents itself, right away, as long as I can do it in a minute.”
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