We've all been so busy with something fun and exciting that we've kept thinking "let me just do one more".

This is the attitude you should bring into your daily life:

  • Put away one more dish
  • Spend one more minute tidying up.
  • Do just one more thing on your todo list.

Do just one more tiny task whatever it is. It sounds obvious, and it is easy to think "yeah, yeah, I know that already, don't everyone?"

But do you do it? Consistently?

The power of one more is in repetition and understanding willpower: More and more, it is clear that willpower works much like a storage pool - while it constantly replenishes, it can also empty. Making decisions is tiresome, and depletes a resource. When you get to the end of the line, you become vastly more likely to pick the "default" option.

The default option can easily be to vegetate on the sofa. Or it can be to continue doing something more productive and/or satisfying.

More importantly: Willpower can be practised. Meditation is partially about exercising your willpower and strengthening it. Not all forms of meditation is about concentration and willpower per se - e.g. mindfulness meditation -, but a certain level of willpower is a pre-requisite, and all meditation traditions have recognised that practising concentration, and thus indirectly willpower, is essential to be able to practise at all.

But outside of meditation, we rarely think about willpower as a skill that needs to be practised or exercised the way we think about, say, another language, or a muscle. Yet it is.

Doing one more thing is partially a way of exercising your ability to maintain willpower in small bits and pieces in your daily life, but it is also a "mindhack" - a way to "trick" yourself into turning a useful activity into the default, to keep you going well past where you would normally give in to more pleasurable pursuits by turning any activity into small, bitesize chunks and challenging yourself to complete just one more tiny little, hardly noticeable piece.

And then another.

The second powerful part comes in attacking laziness and procrastination: If you can successfully do one more over and over, you can initially plan on just doing one little thing: push yourself to do one little task, and then try for one more, rather than intimidating yourself with a wall full of todos.

A common cause of procrastination is fear of failure - make the initial task small enough, and there's no fear of failure. If the initial task is not small enough, make the initial task to split the tasks in two (or more); then repeat until the tasks are tiny enough that you manage to get started on them, even if it leads to silly amount of detail (but, as a word of caution, focus on detailed subdivision of the most immediate tasks, and gradually increase detail on later tasks as you go along, rather than try to break down tasks that are far out in time in excrutiating detail - the latter easily becomes a means of procrastination in itself)

Just do one little thing. Then one more