Rule of three

By Jeremy Anderberg via artofmanliness.com   Article

Get More Done with the Rule of 3

“… author Chris Bailey defines it thusly: ‘At the beginning of each day, before you start working, decide what three things you want to accomplish by the end of the day. Do the same at the start of every week.’ …

Before we get started, let’s do a brief reset of what we think of as productivity.

A Quick Redefinition of Productivity

People often think of productivity as the amount of stuff that got done — a measurable number of tasks. The more boxes that have been checked off the to-do list, the more productive a day has been. To put it simply, that’s a terrible way to determine your productivity. It assumes that every item on your list has equal value, and that’s simply not the case.

If your to-do list has 15 things on it, but only one of them is truly important to get done today, what good does it do if 14 of 15 items are checked off and yet the single most important item remains?

A better way to approach your productivity is to ask a simple question at the end of each day: ‘Did I get done what I intended to?’ Or as Bailey puts it: ‘Productivity isn’t about doing more things — it’s about doing the right things.’

There are always plenty of good things to cross-off your to-do list, but superior productivity requires tackling the best things first. The stuff that has the greatest leverage and ROI in moving you closer to your goals.

In order to determine what that stuff is, you need to know the outcomes that have to happen in order for you to have a successful and productive day/week/month/year. Then you need to think about the things you could do that would add the most value to your company or business, and produce those outcomes. …

The Benefits of Implementing the Rule of 3

… You work deliberately rather than reactively. A lot of people work based on the input they get throughout the day — their schedule defaults to whatever happens and comes in from the moment they sit down at their desk: phone calls that need answering, emails that need replies, a boss reminding them of something they forgot to do. When you use the Rule of 3, however, you design your day based on your job description and what will add the most value to your business. …

It’s simple enough that you’ll actually do it. One of the problems with productivity systems is that they often get overly complicated. I can’t think about David Allen’s Getting Things Done without being overwhelmed. The Rule of 3 is simple enough that you’ll actually do it every day (and week). All you have to do is learn to prioritize what the 3 most important things are (an ability that comes with time and repetition).”

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