This paper presents a concept of sequentially actuated multi-degree-of-freedom (DOF) robot with only one motor. A switching mechanism allowing to actuate sequentially the different joints–or combinations of the joints–of the robot is also proposed. Potential actuation schemes (joint combinations) are presented and their properties are discussed. Cartesian pick-and-place trajectories are then considered using different actuation schemes. An optimisation algorithm is presented in order to provide the best possible sequence by minimising the amplitude of the joint rotations for a given actuation combination. A simple planar two-DOF and the SCARA architectures are used to illustrate the concept. Finally, a prototype is developed with the aim of demonstrating the sequentially actuated manipulator concept.