With renovating our house, work being crazy and just the general flow of life, it’s been really easy to let things pile up, literally and figuratively. I have spent the last few weekends between painting and projects tidying up our home, cleaning up stuff lying around and just trying to reorganize for spring. Life doesn’t slow down just because we want to.
Now, I’m not one to constantly put rules in place – as an organized individual, rules often lead to stress when they’re not followed, and nobody’s got time for that! I simplify my life by NOT enforcing any rules that would ultimately fail, which makes my next point interesting. There is one rule I follow that is tried-and-true to making my life better and less stressful: the one minute rule. It simply states:
“IF IT TAKES ONE MINUTE OR LESS TO DO, DO IT NOW, NOT LATER.”
This means that the little things that take you an hour to do on Saturday morning can be spread out through the week and give you your time back. For example, take the extra minute to put your clothes in the hamper or washer versus letting them pile up on the floor until the weekend. Fixing the little things around your house and doing the little tasks in front of you can open your eyes to time you can save now instead of wasting your weekends away on meaningless chores.
Over time, I eventually bumped my rule up to three minutes, then five minutes. That stack of dishes in the sink? Do them now while dinner is cooking and you still have plenty of time to kick your feet up. Need lunch for work tomorrow? Make it now and save yourself the money of eating out or take that snooze alarm to use those extra 5 minutes of sleep tomorrow.
Overtime, I found the my schedule became more free to do what I wanted to do. Instead of snapping at my husband to help me slave over the house for a few hours cleaning, we’re able to spend quality time together doing things we want to do. Instead of constantly having to wash one dish at a time because I’m too lazy to do the dishes, I have my choice of dishes I want and a clean kitchen to cook in.
I also applied this rule into my work – I write down everything I need to get done that day and knock the to-dos in order of how long they take (and priority if a larger project needs to get done first). After about 10 minutes, I have finished about 3-5 projects and my productivity feels through the roof to motivate me toward the larger projects.
It’s amazing how great you feel day-to-day when you take a few moments to get those little things done. This rule is meant to be flexible to the individual, so start small and build yourself up overtime as it becomes a habit and change of mindset. It will be hard, but it’s all about breaking the laziness. No one is holding you back or in this type of routine but you, so it really takes a deep self dive to achieve success.
As you begin to enact this one rule into your life, here are a few examples of chores that you can do within your own rule time frame!
- Wipe down the kitchen counters.
- Fix couch pillows.
- Put shoes and bags away.
- Make your bed.
- Clean off the bathroom counter and place items in their respective drawers.
- Hang towels in the bathroom.
- Clean clothes up off the floor – place them right into the washer instead of the hamper.
- Pull out meat or frozen food for tomorrow’s meals.
- Take out the trash.
- Keep a grocery list on the fridge and write down grocery needs as they are emptied.
- Push in dining chairs and wipe down table.
- Water plants.
- Check your budget to make sure you’re on track with your expenses and bills.
TWO TO THREE MINUTES
- Load and start the washer. Turn washer clothes over into dryer.
- Put clean dishes away.
- Sweep kitchen floor.
- Load and run the dishwasher.
- Pay those bills you’ve been putting off.
- Dust shelves and tables in main areas.
- Pack lunches for tomorrow. (tip: make a weekly lunch plan so that you can thoughtlessly pack lunches each day)
- Vacuum main living areas.
- Clean your bathroom toilets.
- Wipe down mirrors in bathrooms and other areas.
- Fold laundry in the dryer.
- Put random things away in the garage that were pulled out.
- Clean garbage out of your car.
- Wipe down grease build-up on vent hood.
- Wipe out microwave.
- Filter through old bills and paperwork – sort it into a folio binder for easy access.