Use The 20-Second Rule

Design Your Environment To Get Things Done

Shawn Achor: Developer of the rule

  • Author of The Happiness Advantage invented this rule

Shawn’s goal and results

  • Wanted to read more
  • At the end of the day – plopped down on the sofa
  • TV remote was close, but the books weren’t – TV won!

Shawn’s answer: Reverse the convenience

  • Took batteries out of remote and put it in the bedroom, and put books next to the sofa
  • It worked – he read more books!

Why it worked: Convenience/inconvenience

  • We tend to take the path of least resistance: We do what’s convenient, avoid what’s inconvenient

The goal of the 20-second rule

  • Create less resistance in your environment for doing desired behaviors – make them 20 seconds easier to start
  • Create more resistance in your environment for preventing undesired behaviors – make them 20 seconds harder to start

Factors that matter

  • Distance – How close/far away it is

  • Hassle – How easy/ difficult it is to access or use

Your Environment to Get Things Done – CHALLENGE/NEXT ACTIONS

Identify your desirable behaviors and make them 20 seconds easier to start. Identify things you don’t want to do and make them 20 seconds harder to start:

  • Stop looking at your phone constantly – Put it in another room – you’ll still hear it ring

  • Drink more water/less soda – Keep a bottle of water on your desk and soda out of the house

  • Eat a healthier breakfast – Decide what healthy breakfast you want in the morning and set out everything (in advance) to make it easy to prepare

  • Pay your bills – Put your bills, checkbook, pen, and stamps on your desk

  • Work out – Put your workout clothes/shoes next to your bed and decide (in advance) the workout you will do

Similar Posts