Save Time with 1 minute races- Can you finish your task time?

There does not seem to be a direct Industrial Engineering principle or tool here, but I’d like to propose a new tool: The 1 minute race.

The concept being, take a job that takes a somewhat short amount of time, like ~5 minutes, and see what that job looks like complete after a 1 minute sprint.

This may cause you to find innovations out of necessity. Sometimes you do silly things that fail, other times you do ridiculous things that save you so much time you change your routine forever.

The Goal- Don’t lose the spirit by sticking to the letter

The goal here is to save time by finding innovation, tracking task time, and motivating yourself to work quickly(scientifically works).

When doing my own, I found myself taking 1 minute and 39 seconds to do a daily task I previously thought took about 5 minutes. This is a huge win, 3 minutes saved over the next 50 years is 912 hours saved(or visualized as 112 days working!). This was on the first try, and even if I was unable to further refine the process, I should be happy about the lessons I learned and the ~1000 lifetime hours saved.

You can also cut the time down further, we have a goal of getting the kids in each car seat in 30s. When that got too easy 10s.


I apologize about the tone below, constantly asking the question. It just felt like if I wasnt direct, it wouldn’t be clear.

Morning Routine

Can you shower in 1 minute? Or at least do things like wash hair/shave/soap each in 1 minute?

Can you style your hair in 1 minute?

Can you do each makeup product in 1 minute? Or your entire makeup process?

Can you pick out your clothes in 1 minute?


Can you get all kitchen ingredients needed out? (This one isnt as good, because if you make a mistake you lost some time, however depending on the time savings, you might be better off going for a second trip)

Can you load (or unload) the bottom rack of the dishwasher in 1 minute? The top rack?

Can you start the rice/noodles/slowcooker recipe/passive cooking in 1 minute?

Can you add all the herbs and spices in 1 minute?(This is best for recipes where spice quantities do not need to be exact, indian and mexican food are great for this)


Can you start the laundry in 1 minute? Including transportation time, you may need to literally run.

Move the laundry to the dryer in 1 minute. If that isnt hard enough, include the time it takes to transport yourself to the dryer.


With these, there is definitely less freedom for the kid. An uncooperative kid will have their body contorted as the parents need.

Can you get each kid dressed in 1 minute?

Can you get each belted in the car, from living room to car in 1 minute?


Can you clean your floor for vacuuming in under 1 minute?

Can you wipe the surface in under 1 minute? Can you get it spotless?


Can you feed/water your pet in 1 minute? How about all of the pets?

Home improvement/fixes

Can you find a solution to the problem you’ve been procrastinating on for months in 1 minute? If you already know the solution, can you find the exact first steps in 1 minute? Got that too? What about the first minute of the job? Maybe the problem was all mental. (Although, when I use this trick, I usually require myself to work on the task for 10 minute before evaluating how much it sucks. After 10 minutes, I usually think the task isn’t so bad.)

Single-minute exchange of die(SMED) Applied to life

The closest principle I found to this was called SMED. They break up this even into two types: Internal Tasks and External Tasks. Internal Tasks are those during the 1 minute when you are live working on something. Its suggested to reduce the time of internal tasks, to move as much as possible to external tasks. External tasks cover everything else. As an example, if you were trying to get your clothes on in under 1 minute, try to envision ahead of time what outfit you are going to wear so you don’t need to think about it during that 1 minute.

Only other generic tip is to remind you to use the right tools/tech and have your process/tool locations/material locations standardized.

Continuous Improvement

According to the textbook, once you have a good process, you have two possible futures: degradation or improvement. Thus the concept of continuous improvement.

However, today I’ll give an alternative take: Its probably impossible to continuously improve every 1 minute process you’ve ever done. Even if you did, you are quickly going to run into diminishing returns/pareto principle. It was easy to shave 3 minutes, its hard to shave another 20 seconds.

My advice here, go for continuous improvement, but don’t let it take energy that could be devoted to better causes. I have my 1 minute hair routine down, it would be nice to get even faster, but I’m not going to hyper analyze my 1 minute hair routine. Its already good.