I am the queen of to-do lists. I love making them. I love checking things off, and I can make them a mile long. I lived this way for YEARS! I felt like the bigger my list, and the more I could check off in a day had to mean that I was being a good person…right?!? Well, I am here to tell you that I have forced the insanity to stop, and I’d like to share the new way of planning my day with you. For a long time I had seen productivity articles about “3 a day” coming from lots of different sources. I would read the articles, kind of chuckle to myself and perhaps mutter a “yeah, right” under my breath. Now, I am writing about “3 a day” for you and I’m going to ask you to be more open minded than I was to start. I’m telling you from experience that this CAN work, and trust me you are going to feel like you accomplish so much more.
The idea is that you pick just 3 things that you are going to accomplish each day. 3 things that is it! Not 3 things for work, and 3 things for home, and 3 things for kids and 3 things for school. Just 3 things for the entire day. Some days they are going to be big things to accomplish; clean out a closet, finish your report, or pay bills. Some days they are going to be smaller; call to make a doctors appointment, get your cars oil changed, or get your hair cut. And yes this even works on days that are out of your control, such as when you get sick, then you can make your list something like; get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water, and catch up on your favorite tv programs. The important thing is that each and every day you accomplish the 3 things you set out to do.
Doing 3 things a day amounts to 1095 accomplishments each year!
How do you pick the 3 things to do for your day when you have an out of control to-do list. I’ll admit this was the step that left me cold. I have a list of 30 plus things to do, I can’t just pick three. Believe it or not, this does get easier as you get the in swing of planning this way. A lot of times this will come pretty naturally. Your report is due in 2 days, today is probably the day to make one of your items “finish the report”. Then knowing that this is going to require a large chunk of time to complete, choose 2 smaller items to round out your day. Here are some other ways to choose your 3 goals:
- Location – Group things that need to be done in a similar place
- Time – Your days schedule will determine how much time you have devote to your 3 goals
- Company – Are you by yourself today, or with family or friends? Pick goals that will work with the company you are keeping today
- Energy Level – Do you get a lot done on your days off, or are you better at getting those errands run after leaving work and then calling it a night?
- Mind Set – Is today a day where you are ready to take on the world, or a day where you need to lay low and work quietly.
Now here is the part where I am going to try to reassure all of you out there that are freaking out that doing “just” 3 items are not going to even put a dent in your to-do list. Once you accomplish your 3 things today, you have the OPTION to add one more thing. Again – only after you have finished your 3 goals do you have the opportunity to DECIDE if you want to add one more thing on for the day. Some days this will be met with an enthusiastic “oh yeah, I’m on a roll” and adding one more item feels like working with the momentum of the day. Other days the idea of adding on one more thing is going to be just too much.
Remember those 3 amazing things you accomplished today and know that you have succeeded at your goals for today!
This is honestly the part of the “3 Things a Day” that I love. When it really comes down to it, putting that check mark next to the things you did on your to-do list is really fun, but it was the completion of your GOALS for the day that make me feel like I’ve really accomplished something. Knowing that it’s very possible to accomplish ALL your goals in a day, by setting a realistic number of 3, is contagious and so you will find yourself getting better and better at grouping like tasks today to increase your success and speed that your are accomplishing your goals each day.
So join me in making your list of 3 things to do for tomorrow. Please feel free to share any questions, or comments in the section below. I’d love to hear how this is working for you!