Simple shortcuts to business success #16: Activate the one-minute rule


  • You need to book a time to see your accountant. Should you do it now, or later?
  • You notice the light bulb in the toilet is blown. Should you change it now, or later?
  • The photocopier is out of paper. Should you refill it now, or later?
  • You take your dirty coffee cup into the kitchen. Should you wash it now, or later?
  • You pay a bill and make a note on that print out that it’s been paid. Should you file it now, or later?

There are countless of these little things that crop up over the course of a day. Countless. And we waste a huge amount of time and energy trying to decide ‘should I do this now, or later’ with all of them. As we already know, every decision we have to make over the course of a day, no matter how big or small, affects our ability to make good decisions later in the day and sapping our willpower.

What if there was a quick and easy way to decide whether to do something now, or later? What if there was a way to save a big chunk of that energy?

Well there is. It’s called the one-minute rule. And it’s absurdly easy to apply.

Whenever you catch yourself doing the ‘now or later’ thing, if that thing will take you less than one minute to do, just do the thing.

Seriously, just do it.

This will have three great effects:

  1. It will remove that thing where it’s the fifteenth time you’ve flicked the light switch only to remember ‘Oh yeah, I haven’t done that yet’. (At which point a really tiny job suddenly seems larger than it is and starts taking up even more head space).
  2. It will reduce the frustration you feel at yourself for having not taken care of it the first time you noticed.
  3. It will free up valuable head space because you’re no longer debating with yourself about doing stupid little jobs. Because you’re just getting them done straight away.

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