I read a piece of time saving advice a while ago that’s stayed with me. I don’t recall who said it or where I heard it, but I know it was one of those articles on advice from successful people. That advice is this: if a task crosses your path, and it would only take a minute to accomplish, then do it. Do NOT put it off.
A minute is longer than most people realize. If your life is anything like mine, there are loads of one minute tasks that cross your path every day.
Take email for example. I recently spent hours cleaning out my inbox. It seems I only just did this a few months ago, but there I was again drowning in email. That’s because every time I checked it, I flagged anything I thought I wanted to read, rather than just skim it and find out. All those emails piled up into an hours long, overwhelming project. Had I spent a minute opening and skimming a few emails every time I checked in, I could have saved myself hours.
What easy stuff do you ignore and then later waste time on?
Think about your daily life and:
- the papers you shuffle rather than file
- the emails you flag rather than read
- the laundry you let wrinkle rather than fold
- the sink full of dishes you pile rather than wash
- the objects you move rather than put away
It takes less than a minute to file some paper, wash a dish or two, fold some clothes, and put stuff away. These are easy tasks. And yet we have a tendency to ignore these simpler tasks creating harder, more time consuming, dreadful ones in the process.
I don’t know why. But many of us are drowning in projects and chores as a result of this bad habit.
Isn’t our time more precious than that? Isn’t it something we should aim to protect and preserve?
Like I said, this advice has stayed with me. I’ve tried to apply it to my life wherever possible. I’ve maintained applying it to my email. And for once, I feel in control of it, rather than it in control of me. There’s a reason people say to spend a few minutes straightening up every day. Those who don’t usually find themselves sacrificing an entire weekend to do a month’s worth of cleaning. And life is way too short for that nonsense.
So consider this piece of time saving advice next time you’re faced with a task that would take less than a minute. Before you ignore it, just do it. You’d be amazed how much less hangs over your head when you apply this advice to your own life.