QuickTip: The One More Thing Rule

Several years ago, I was having lunch with a new client – the managing partner of a law firm – and we were talking about the struggle to just stay caught up with all the stuff coming at us each day.  As the conversation continued, he mentioned to me that one of the little tips he’d developed was something called the One More Thing Rule.

Specifically, at the end of each day, right before shutting everything down and walking out of the office, he’d do one more little thing – return a quick call, send one last e-mail, etc.  These little things literally took a minute or two, but in doing this one little thing, he was able get over 200 more things done each year.  Yes, 200!

The Upside

I’ve incorporated this rule into my own workday and regularly recommend it to others.  There are several direct benefits to this rule:

  • You get the aforementioned 200 extra things done.
  • You appear, and are, more responsive and effective.
  • You have a definitive way to determine when the end of the day has arrived.
  • You have one less niggly thing on your plate the next day.

The Downside

There are two risks inherent in adopting this rule:

  • You pick something that takes more than a minute or two and end up at the office much longer than expected.
  • You like the rule so much you fail to stop at just one.

The true purposes of the One More Thing Rule are to get you just a little more productive and to give you an identifiable point at which to end your day.  If you start diving into larger efforts or do numerous things, you’re defeating both the spirit and benefit of the rule. So, take care when applying this principle and you will reap the benefit of increased productivity and the reward of getting home to your family earlier accompanied by a sense of greater accomplishment.

Time for me to go home!

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