The rule of three: How to make your day as productive as possible

Journalist Jeremy Anderberg talks about a simple way to catch much more and not to worry about undone.


By the end of 2016 I made a big jump in productivity. This led me, first, a thorough analysis of what I spend my time and where it is wasted. This was an extremely useful initiative.

Second, I discovered the"rule of three"that allows you to work consciously during the day and not just react to events.

This concept is discussed in various blogs and books, author Chris Bailey defines thus:

"At the beginning of each day before you begin, identify three tasks you want to accomplish by the end of the day. Do the same at the beginning of each week."

It's a simple concept, but it completely changes the rules of the game. Its actually quite easy to apply.

I'll tell you why it's so important to follow it, as well as a few tips on using the "rule of three".

But first, let's briefly discuss what we mean by performance.


A quick reassessment of the performance

People often think of performance as about the amount of cases that have been made, that is, about the quantifiable amount of tasks. The more ticks put in the list of current Affairs, the more productive day.

It is, I tell you, it's a terrible way to determine performance.

This approach assumes that each item in your list is equally important, but it is not so.

If your to do list 15 items, but there is one that is really important to do today, what good is it if 14 out of 15 will be met, but one really important item left?

The best way to determine your performance is to ask yourself a simple question at the end of each day: "have I planned?" Or, as formulated Bailey, "being productive is not to do more tasks, it means to perform the right task".

In to-do list always has many good things, on the contrary are easy to tick off, but improving performance requires you to engage first and foremost the most important issues. Those that have the most impact and bring you to your destination.

To calculate them, you need to determine what should be the results that you might find a successful and productive day (week, month, or year). You should also determine which tasks will bring the greatest benefit to the company or business.

In my case, for example, the highest value in my work at the website Art of Manliness has a radio program and preparation of articles for publication, invitation of guests and the creation of the show, as well as writing articles. The result is a quality article ready for publication, wonderful guests in programs and high-quality shows.

If my main, the most important task for today is to finish writing an article, but I got distracted by less important things in my task list because they were easier to stick to and tick off, I can't answer Yes to the question "have I Done all that I intended?".

Remember: performance is not the amount of tasks you have completed, and whether you made the necessary and important things that are more important to your business.

Instead of writing a list of 10, 20 or even more items, or worse, starting his day in the blind, no direction, select the three most important things that must be done and focus on them.

The benefits of the "rule of three"

You work consciously and not react to what is happening. A lot of people working, based on developments during the day, you need to answer a phone call, to emails, and then my boss reminds of something they forgot to do. When you use the rule of three, you plan your day based on your primary responsibilities and what will benefit your business.

You are off from work when you have to escape. If you are like me, you have moments when you suddenly realize that I was distracted for 30 minutes and can't even remember what I worked on before. When you have recorded 3 top-priority tasks, you can always turn to these records and know exactly what was done and what needs to be done in the remaining time.

It's easy enough when you really begin to follow this rule. One of the common problems of different systems of performance — they are overly complicated. I can't think about the approach David Allen without a sense of surge. The "rule of three" is simple enough to apply it every day (and every week). All you need to do is to learn to prioritize and highlight the three most important things (ability that will come with time and experience).

Unimportant tasks fall away. They have no place in your to-do list. Instead of transferring the same task from day to day and from week to week, understand that if they do not meet the "rule of three" may not be worth it to do it. Maybe someone else will do them better. Don't let unimportant things to spoil your performance.

You don't overload your leaders. Instead of sending the head bloated to-do list, why not send three of the most important tasks? More likely that it will draw attention when you show what you are doing and report positive results. Nobody cares about the small things that you are going to do, but the management will be impressed when you will be able to present three tasks that really benefit the company.

The same applies to teamwork. If you are responsible for a team of product release, there's no reason to give them a hundred little errands in the day. Put them 3 tasks, albeit small, which should be done for the day, and it is much more likely that you will get consistent and positive results, and your team will not feel overwhelmed.

How to use the "rule of three" in the best way

As noted above, the "rule of three" is very simple to use: write down the three most important things that you must do today. But there are a few tipsto get maximum benefit.

Use the "rule of three" not only during the day, but also with regard to the week, month and year. Outline the 3 most important result for each time segment, and then make plans for the week and day based on the smaller actions that should lead to the planned result. It might be harder because of the larger volume (in my experience, it's easier to think about things that should be done today), but imagine yourself on Friday afternoon or at the end of the month and ask what would upset you if it were not done.

Use a paper address book. Of course, you can use any digital app. Create a note in iPhone, make a note in Evernote, etc. But from all the reading and my own experience with the "rule of three", I came to the conclusion that paper is the best. Plan entry manually on a sheet of paper makes it more memorable — the important thing is imprinted in the brain. You can keep it on the table next to the computer so that he was always in sight; otherwise it will be lost in a lot of Internet browser tabs or in the depths of the cell phone.

Plan your day in advance. You can make a plan while you walk to work in the morning, but personally I feel less tense and start to work much better when you already know what I'm gonna do. Instead of having to spend 20-30 minutes fresh energy planning, why not take from the case? For this, I made it a rule to give the last 15-20 minutes of the working day on the new plan.

Meditate. At the end of the day (and week, month and year) meditate as you work. Were your goals realistic? Were you too ambitious or not ambitious enough? Over time you will learn to understand what I can and what cannot do during this period of time (monitoring over the efficient use of time will help speed the learning process!).

Be flexible. If you did 3 planned business, don't stop, don't say "well, I did, you can relax!" J. D. Meier says in his book "the Fastest way to achieve results": "First follow these three points, outlined, and then take a swing to more." But if you have not completed three tasks, forgive yourself. Perhaps you overestimated yourself. Maybe it was a bad day. They all have. The charm of the "rule of three" is that you start fresh each morning, even if one of the items has to move.

React if necessary. No matter how we planned your day, sometimes something falls as snow on the head. In this case, quickly re-evaluate their plans. Meyer says "Do it, defer it, put it in your schedule or delegate". To understand which task is more important and do I need to do it now or you can postpone, you may be asking yourself, "Which of the tasks will bring more value to my company?"

Come up with your own "rule of three". When you master the "rule of three" in the work, create another rule for your personal, household or family purposes. Tame working life, tame home life, rule the world!


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When I'm not using the "rule of three", my productivity suffers, and, surprisingly, motivation is also. I have found that the ability to select three important things for the day, even if it microsetae (sending emails) as part of a large project, it helps to feel satisfied with my day.

Instead of spending days going with the flow, take steps to consciously plan it by exercising the "rule of three".published


P. S. And remember, only by changing their consumption — together we change the world! ©



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