I have a confession. I’m messy. Like, embarrassingly messy. At the age of 27, I still have trouble keeping my room clean. I do have spurts of energy (usually when I’m procrastinating while doing something else), which leads to 20 minutes of furious cleaning. But soon it becomes chaotic again with clothes strewn across the floor, empty water glasses piling up on my bedside table and clutter from the everyday things that accumulate throughout the week. And let’s be honest, who wants to spend their afternoon cleaning when there are so many amazing shows on Netflix (House of Cards, anyone?). 😉 But as much as I’ve convinced myself that my messiness is an extension of my eclectic taste, I really do feel better in a clean environment. So what’s a girl to do when she’s got a messy streak?
Enter: The One-Minute Rule
I won’t pretend to take credit for this incredibly simple, but potentially life-changing concept. I heard about the One Minute Rule on the awesome lifestyle podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin (totally recommend it). The idea is to immediately do any tasks that come up if they will take one minute or less to complete. For example, if you walk in the door after coming home from work, don’t just kick off your shoes in the living room. Take the extra 20 seconds to place them back in your closet. If you have breakfast and just need to clean your bowl and glass, spend 45 seconds washing them before heading out to work.
Seem too simple to be effective? Well, think about it. Next time you’re surveying your messy room/ workspace/car, think about how much of that mess could have been prevented if you had been applying the One Minute Rule. I’m going to guess, almost all of it. I know my room ends up cluttered with jackets and sweaters I’ve tossed on a chair or dirty clothes I couldn’t be bothered to throw in the hamper. All of that mess could easily have been taken care of in less than a minute if I had just chosen to put in that extra bit of effort at the time. Instead, all of those little messes add up and soon I have to spend my whole Saturday afternoon cleaning up and organizing.
This tip doesn’t just have to be for us messy people! You can apply the One-Minute Rule to other areas of your life, too. At work, spend 30 seconds replying to an email so you don’t have a mountain of emails to respond to at the end of the day. If you use online banking, take a minute to pay bills immediately when you receive them to avoid forgetting and having to pay late fees. Anything that takes 60 seconds or less, should be done right away. You’d be surprised how much you can do in a minute.
For all its simplicity, the One Minute Rule has really helped me de-clutter my life. No, I haven’t turned into a neat freak. I’ll always be on the messy side (it’s part of my creativity, okay?!), but for the most part, my room has remained tidy and clutter-free. It’s also spilled over into other parts of my life including blogging and writing! Not only do I feel more productive, but I actually have more time on my hands. I no longer have a long list of trivial tasks that have piled up at the end of the day. It’s amazing how quickly those small, insignificant responsibilities accumulate into an hour of extra work. Now I can spend my precious Saturday afternoons doing more important things…like sleeping in.
Will you try the One Minute Rule?