It's About Time
‘Rule of 3’ helps in daily productivity
Are you sometimes discouraged because there are days you feel you haven't accomplished anything?
This happens to just about everyone, whether you are in the working world or not.
I recently returned from visiting a friend in San Francisco. She is a retired nurse, and her time is largely her own. She told me that even though she enjoys her unstructured life, she is frustrated because there are too many days when she doesn't get a thing done.
Once in a while it's good to slack off and relax, but a steady diet of that is not satisfying to most people.
My friend had a lot of projects to do around her home and garden but wasn't making any progress on them and was frustrated.
I encouraged her to set some goals and identify three things to do each day -- perhaps one big task (or a step of a big task) and two smaller tasks.
I like this "Rule of 3" -- scaling back your "to do" list to the three most important things you need to do. Three is an easy number to remember, not overwhelming and not stressful. To do three things seems (and is) doable.
Feeling that our task list is doable is important because it fosters action as opposed to feeling overwhelmed, which can foster inaction.
After trying the Rule of 3 for a few weeks, my friend excitedly told me that she has been getting one big task done each day, and feels so good about it.
Even if your to-do list is long, you can still use the Rule of 3. First, extract from that lengthy list things you need to do today. Then, from today's list, identify the top three things you need to do. They should be obvious to you.
As you focus on and accomplish those three things, the next three will be obvious.
What are the three most important things you need to do today?
I encourage you to apply the Rule of 3 on a daily basis. Identify the three most important things you need to do first each day, and focus on getting them done. Then select the next three.
At the end of the day, it's a satisfying feeling to lay your head down on the pillow knowing that you've used your time well and accomplished something important.
I'll share with you more applications of the Rule of 3 in my next column. See you in two weeks!
"It's About Time," by Ruth Wong
, owner of Organization Plus, runs the fourth Friday of each month. Contact her at "It's About Time," care of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org