Try This At Home: One Minute Rule

Use the One Minute Rule for tasks that can be completed in less than one minute.

Welcome Back to the second edition of Try This At Home.

I was so excited to hear that many readers were interested in my first post last week. As a reminder, Try This At Home is my review of the weekly tips and suggestions that Gretchen Rubin provides in her Happier podcast and books The Happiness Project and Better Than Before. This series will provide my honest thoughts in regards to the tips that I have tried or currently use on a regular basis..

Today’s try this at home tip involves utilizing the one minute rule. In many ways this rule plays off of the tip of taking one thing with you when you leave a room. This rule encourages you to complete a task if it can be done in less than one minute. In many ways this doesn’t seem like a difficult task but there are likely moments when it is not accomplished. Here are a few examples of when the one minute rule can be utilized.

  • Hanging up a coat rather than placing it on a  chair or the couch.
  • Putting dishes in the dishwasher rather than placing them in the sink or in the counter.
  • Placing junk mail in the recycling bin rather than keeping it on the desk or counter after opening.
  • Taking dirty laundry to the hamper rather than leaving it on the bed (or in the floor).
  • Responding to an email immediately rather than reading and planning to respond at a later time.

In many ways, I have always tried to follow the one minute rule even before I had a name to give the task. It is a habit to always put my dirty dishes in the dishwasher and I consistently put my laundry in the hamper. Additionally, I’ve become more consistent regarding the junk mail and recycling it immediately.. An area I would like to improve upon is responding to email that simply needs a short response. As I have my multiple emails forwarded to one primary account, I am consistently receiving emails. Many do not need a response and can be deleted or filed away while others need the short response that does take less than one minute. I have also found that it is probably best that I only answer emails from one device rather than answering from both my phone and laptop.

How does utilizing the one minute rule make life easier?  Consider how taking small and gradual steps is typically completed without a large amount of effort. Placing the glass in the dishwasher saves time of having to spend several minutes loading it. Additionally, a clean sink or counter makes one feel better. The same can be said of the other tasks mentioned above.

Do you already practice the one minute rule in your life? If not, do you see how it could be helpful? 

Don’t forget to come back next Tuesday for more try this at home suggestions.





  1. Alexis @ Chemistry Cachet on January 12, 2016 at 7:12 am

    This is such a good idea! I think this is also along the lines of procrastination. Sometimes I will procrastinate the littlest things like hanging up a shirt I just took off. It’s just one shirt, but then it turns into an entire pile, making it way more of an effort in the long run. I need to work on this!

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on January 12, 2016 at 7:22 am

      I so agree with you. It’s just something small but those small things add up to a pile that will take forever to get through. I don’t always accomplish this but I certainly try to.

  2. Emily @ Ember Grey. on January 12, 2016 at 8:58 am

    There is a lot you can get done in a minute – I always think a minute isn’t enough time to get anything done, until a friend of mine encouraged our group of girls to do a plank in 60 seconds. It was later that night I realized just how long a minute is.. haha!

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on January 12, 2016 at 4:55 pm

      Oh my gosh, we were just talking over the weekend that a minute goes by quickly – unless you are trying to hold a plank! 🙂 Then than minute just goes on FOREVER!!! We’re on the same wavelength.

  3. Shann Eva on January 12, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Such a great rule. I read your last post about taking one thing with you, and I’ve been trying to do that. This is another great one to add to the list. I really love this series.

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on January 12, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      I’m so excited that you are trying the take one thing with you!! Thank you for your kind words. It really means a lot to it. Hope you are having a great day!

  4. Meagan on January 12, 2016 at 11:34 am

    I love this. When you think of it that way, really anything can be done in a minute. Great reminder, thank you!

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on January 12, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      Thanks Meagan. A lot can be accomplished in 60 seconds if we only allow ourselves to do it.

  5. Katie Arnold on January 12, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Totally! I definitely need to work on it when it comes to emails (especially because I usually just forget about the email since it’s no longer unread) but I think this is huge, especially when it comes to dishes, laundry and mail!

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on January 12, 2016 at 4:52 pm

      Emails are my major struggle and sometimes I forget to respond to necessary emails because they were read on my phone. I have found that this helps with the others things such as dishes, laundry and mail.

  6. Maria on January 12, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    A very simple rule that could make anyone be productive. I love your email idea and may have to try it on my inbox as well. I put it off so much that I end up spending precious time clearing it more than I do actually responding to the messages. Thanks so much for sharing, Sheryl! Glad I found you on Lets Be Friends today 🙂

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on January 12, 2016 at 4:51 pm

      Maria, I do the same thing with my email and find myself spending half an hour deleting things that could have been done with one push before. I’m so glad you stopped by. I hope you will continue to follow the series.

  7. Tayler on January 12, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    This rule has helped me a lot in the past few years

  8. The Mom Who Blogs on January 12, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    I have always lived but the one minute rule!

  9. Ashley | Free Wills Studio on January 12, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    I love this post series! I, too, need to improve when it comes to quick response emails. The one minute rule has really changed my life in regards to keeping my home clean so I will definitely use it more when tackling my inbox. Thanks for the great post! 🙂

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on January 12, 2016 at 8:01 pm

      Thank you for stopping by Ashley. It’s nice to hear how these tips help others. I’m still a work in progress in regards to my inbox but I’m going to keep trying.

  10. Bourbon & Lipstick on January 12, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    I am loving this series. Jason is, too. We used your tips last week and I sent this post to him this morning! We’re both getting so much from it! Thank you!

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on January 12, 2016 at 7:58 pm

      Oh Thank You LIndsay! I intend on doing it weekly for as long as I can. Let me know how it’s going.

  11. Rachel Kim on January 12, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Yes, this is so good! I definitely try to practice this when I can. It makes everything so much easier. 🙂

  12. Rachel @ STCL on January 12, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    I love this so much. You just inspired me to get up and do the dishes sitting in the sink 🙂

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on January 31, 2016 at 8:03 am

      Thanks Rachel. I hope this tip is helpful for you (and you did those dishes).

  13. Alexandra Stacey on January 13, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    These are great tips! I should follow all of these things — especially about the dirty laundry. Thanks for sharing!

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on January 31, 2016 at 8:02 am

      Thanks for stopping by. I apologize for the delay in responding. I hope this tip does help you some.

  14. Anne @ Love the Here and Now on January 13, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    One minute can save you so much time later on! And I am right there with you. I leave my inbox and it gets overfilled rapidly and I get so behind. I need to implement the one minute rule there.

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on January 31, 2016 at 8:02 am

      I’m still a work in process in regards to my email. I’m trying to get rid of emails I don’t need or read (don’t we all have them). I’m not sure how they can come so quickly but they do.

  15. Caroline @ In Due Time on January 13, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    #convicted! I need to, I really do need to get better at this!

  16. Tif @ Bright on a Budget on January 14, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    Love this! I’ve been trying to do better about this, and I’m making a conscientious effort about email. The emails are the worst.


    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on January 31, 2016 at 8:01 am

      So, does the fact we talked in person count for the fact I’m late in commenting here? 🙂 Not sure how this post slipped by me. I’m blaming the emails.

  17. Runwright on January 18, 2016 at 11:27 am

    I love this idea. I incorporate some of these tips but it’s great to learn some new ones. Email is a big time waster and sometimes I look at them on my phone but wait until I am on my laptop to respond. That’s time wasted so good to see this suggestion.
    I just found your page via a link and going to check out a few other posts that grabbed my attention when I clicked onto the site. Maybe you’ll check me out and follow me too. Thanks.

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on January 31, 2016 at 8:00 am

      I’m so sorry in the delay in commenting! (I’m going to blame the fact I originally read your comment via email). I’m trying to improve! Glad we have connected.