Review and Summary: Just One Thing

Just One Thing Book Cover

Just One Thing: How Simple Changes Can Transform Your Life is the simplest and most realistic productivity habit book I’ve ever read. Each chapter is straightforward and engaging, ensuring you won’t get bored.

Michael Mosley organizes the book into sections based on different times of the day: early morning, breakfast time, mid-morning, lunchtime, and afternoon. Each section is filled with quick and simple, scientifically proven ways to improve health and well-being sustainably, so that everyone understand why we should adopt these habits.

The practicality of this book is up to a level where it includes the smallest advices, such as playlist suggestions for brisk walking, making it easy to incorporate these habits into your daily routine. If you’re looking to change your habits, this book is an excellent book to start.


Early Morning

  • Moving body up and down against resistance, such as squat
    • Effective at stimulating blood flow to a part of the brain responsible for learning and memory
  • Having cold shower
    • Repeatedly undergoing the mild stressor of immersion in cold water will help you cope with other stressors as well
  • Singing
    • Boosting endocannabinoids → gives us a natural ‘high’ → feel good
  • Meditate
    • Better in regulating emotion, learning, and memory
    • Improving insomnia, fatigue, depression, reductions in anxiety and stress
  • Early morning walk.
    • Boost mood if you suffer from seasonal affective disorders (SAD) aka winter blues.
    • Strengthen muscles and bones, reduce joint and muscular pain, burn a few calories and increase energy levels.
    • Increase fitness, extend life


  • Delay breakfast time
    • By restricting the time window in which we eat we can support our circadian rhythm → bodies function better
  • Drink water
    • Improve attention, help with problem solving, enhances physical performance, keep calm and boost mood, improvements in working and short-term memory, reduce regular headaches, help losing weight
  • Eat some bacteria (such as fermented foods)
    • The anti-inflammatory powers of these microbes that have the positive effect on mental health
  • Stand on one leg
    • Improving balance → reducing risk of injury
    • Good balance needs the brain to gather information from different parts of the body. If there are problems, it might mean the body is having trouble putting this information together and responding. If the brain isn’t good at keeping balance, it might also have trouble managing other important functions like hormones and the heart system.
  • Drink coffee
    • A single dose of caffeine is enough to:
      • Enhance attention, alertness, contentment, and mood
      • Burning calories → generate body heat
    • One of the most effective supplements an athlete can take
      • Almost every aspect of performance: cognitive ability, strength, explosive speed, endurance or skill
      • Drink an hour before exercising


  • Take a break
    • Stand up and move regularly → be more engaged and productive, increase work enjoyment, reduce cortisol levels, enhance long-term effectiveness, improve posture, alleviate joint pain, boost accuracy, and cut fatigue by 50%.
  • Exercise less, but more often
    • Great for cardio fitness, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reduce weight, specifically body fat

Lunch Time

  • Enjoy oily fish
    • Good for frontal lobes, an area important for focus, and temporal lobes, an area for crucial memory, learning and cognition
  • Take a nap
    • Boost mood, wellbeing, improve thinking skills


  • Get house plants
    • Efficient, self-regulating, low-cost, and sustainable way of dealing with indoor air pollution
    • Positive effects on wellbeing, focus , and concentration
  • Stand Up
    • When we sit for long periods, our bodies go into ‘sleep’ mode, shutting down many of the important functions that keep us healthy
    • Research: unless you are doing 40 mins of moderately vigorous exercise every single day, you cannot undo the damage that sitting causes


  • Learn new skills
    • When you engage in an activity that fully absorbs you, the outside world fades away, calming the critical voice in your head. This makes you less judgmental of your actions and reduces stress.
    • Change the way you think and feel
    • When a skill is sufficiently challenging, your brain is compelled to create new pathways and connections, literally enhancing your brain power.
  • Having hot bath
    • When you have the hot bath your core body temperature goes up, but it is when you get out, and start to cool down, that you get the sleep-inducing benefits
  • Reading
    • Reading fiction is ‘whole brain’ workout
      • Boost empathy and interpersonal skills because the parts of the brain that we use to understand stories overlap with the ones we use to understand other people.

Author: Michael Mosley

Publication date: 26 October 2022

Number of pages: 206 pages


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