The One-Minute Rule

  • 1.  Be Gretchen [her name].
  • 2.  Let it go. 
  • 3.  Act as I would feel.
  • 4.  Do it now. 
  • 5.  Be polite and be fair.
  • 6.  Enjoy the process.
  • 7.  Spend out.
  • 8.  Identify the problem.
  • 9.  Lighten up.
  • 10.  Do what ought to be done.
  • 11.  No calculation.
  • 12.  There is only love.


Maybe you have to be Gretchen to know what some of these mean. Act as I would feel? Spend out? No calculation? I hope she doesn't follow those when she goes out shopping.

Tyler: is blogging a small task? Most of your posts are before 2 pm. When is the underlying blog research done?

I concur with Jed Christiansen's observation.

In "The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People," Covey has a neat little diagram that demonstrates Tyler's point: It's a box cut into 4 parts -- 1) things that are urgent and important, 2) things that are urgent but not important, 3) things that are important but not urgent, and 4) things that are not urgent and not important. Sets 1 and 2 we don't need to worry about because they take care of themselves. The problem is with sets 3 and 4 -- we waste time on tasks in set 2 (urgent but not important) and don't spend enough time on tasks in set 3 (important but not urgent). Like the old saw about spending days on planning your vacation but not giving more than passing thought to planning your retirement.

Also, my own (limited) experience tells me that Gretchen's One Minute Rule is really a woman thing. I suspect it's because women, at least in the West, get stuck with all the nest-building/maintaining tasks that can become insurmountable if allowed to pile up.

I've been doing a version of the one-minute rule for years... I call it "happy hour". When I get to the end of the day, I look at my list of things to do and knock off as many of the easy ones as I can in the last half hour of the workday. That way, I go home feeling like I've accomplished something. I've found that in doing the little things at the end of the day, I end up focused on the big thing for the next day on the way home from work, and frequently have a really good mental head start the next day as a result.


Up until a few weeks ago, I kept a messy desk, including three enormous stacks for three different projects. I get a large number of faxes, emails, and packages (I manage real estate development). I came to realize that each stack of paper or pile on my desk represented a decision put-off.
So, now, after a big clean-up and filing flurry I have a clean desk. At the end of everyday, I file or deal with anything loose. That way, the next morning I may deal with the large issues of the day, without a multitude of little issues hanging over and cluttering up things. It also robs me of a mutltitude of little tasks which I can start in order to put-off doing the big things. When I come in, I have only a clean desk and my conscious between me and the major tasks of the day.
It has helped immensely, increased my production, it's aesthetically pleasing, and I suspect my employers are less suspect of my organizational abilities.
I recognize this just applies to me, though.

I found the two minute rule a great help in my life. Not because it helped me become more efficient, but because using it helped me develope the discipline to become more efficient.

"...urgent but not important..."

How can something be unimportant and still urgent?

Actually, I myself came up with something which is "important but not urgent."

I was reviewing wind-damage on my roof. (We had a nasty and unusual storm in Seattle last week and some folks are still without electricity.) I lost a few shingles and while it is "important" that I get a roofer out in the next month or so to repair it, it is not "urgent" as the underlayment and the steep pitch will keep my dry for quite a while.

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