How to stop procrastinating with the one-minute rule

A simple strategy can help you stop procrastinating and over-complicating things.
This one-minute trick can help end procrastinating small tasks like folding a few items of laundry or sending an e-mail.
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/ Source: TODAY
By Kerry Breen

Procrastination can make any task much more stressful, especially as a deadline approaches. Enter the one-minute rule — a small trick that might help reduce stress in your day.

The term was coined by author and "happiness expert" Gretchen Rubin in 2006, according to Self. On her website, Rubin described it as an "incredibly easy, incredibly effective" rule that works best when followed consistently.

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The rule is simple: If a task can be completed in one minute or less, it should be done immediately, like washing a dish, answering an email or picking up a few things on the floor.

According to Rubin, keeping all of the "small, nagging tasks under control makes me more serene, less overwhelmed." When she wrote about the one-minute rule for TODAY, she pointed out it can be helpful for establishing consistent, long-term habits.

Author Alice Boyes, author of "The Healthy Mind Toolkit" and "The Anxiety Toolkit," agreed the one-minute rule can be very helpful, especially for people who may have anxiety.

"It can help people cut down on overly complicating decisions," she said. "Just getting it done can stop you from going into that mode of over-complicating things."

She said the trick was particularly useful when it came to answering an email — it's easier to write a short, to-the-point response instead of spending time thinking about what you want to say and accidentally creating a "pile" of e-mails that need to be responded to — or when food shopping overwhelmed a person with the amount of decisions possible.

Like Rubin, she also recommended the tool for keeping a house or apartment tidied.

"If your house getting messy stresses you out and it gets too big, you tend to procrastinate about it," Boyes explained. "The one-minute [rule] can help you keep on top of things so you don't feel so intimidated. Anything you put off, your anxiety snowballs. The more you put it off, the more that snowballs into something bigger. The one-minute rule can help it not snowball."