In the book The Productivity Project, Chris Bailey uses the “Rule of Three” as a strategy to retain your focus throughout the week. The goal is to decide on three activities, projects, or actions you want to complete prior to the end of the week. Once you can define your “three,” you can keep them top of mind throughout the day so you stay on focused on the “big agenda” items instead of getting drawn into tasks like answering email all day.
I’ve embraced this concept fully. In fact, I tend to do a Rule of Three for personal and for business activities for the week. I also create a Rule of Three list daily. The weekly entries tend to be bigger projects and the daily entries usually (but not always) support the weekly ones.
Last week, my three personal items were:
- Schedule lunch with a friend within the next 3 weeks.
- Relax at my pedicure appointment. (Often I work while getting a pedicure, which certainly isn’t relaxing!)
- Walk 10K steps each day.
On Wednesday, my three personal DAILY items were
- Go to yoga.
- Cook dinner … including vegetables!!
- Walk 10K steps.
Notice how only one of the daily actions actually related to the weekly.
My business items were:
- Submit a request to speak at a Women in Business Summit.
- Revamp a presentation.
- Start to design my group program.
On Wednesday my three business DAILY items were
- Send RFP to my VA to proof.
- Send adapted PowerPoint to my VA to update the branding and swap out some images.
- Send thank you cards to participants in a brainstorming session I led for NAWBO-Cleveland.
Here, two of the three items directly supported my Rule of Three focus for the week.
So, what does this have to do with gratitude?
Ever since inserting the Rule of Three into my weekly and daily planning process, my productivity has increased. My ability to work less and still achieve more has increased. It’s much easier for me to focus on the big picture while taking care of the day-to-day.
Whenever I find a strategy that works in one area of my life, I try to see if I can adapt it and use it in another area. I knew there had to be a way to apply the Rule of Three somewhere else, so I went back to the book and reread the chapter.
This phrase stuck out: “When you are picking your Rule of Three think about what ‘wins, achievements and highlights’ you want at the end of the week.”
Wins, achievements, and highlights. This phrase was running through my head as I started to write in my Gratitude Journal. Each night I capture three (hmmmm . . . coincidence??) things that happened throughout the day that I’m grateful for.
Yesterday my three were:
- I had a conversation with a potential client who has exactly the characteristics of my ideal client.
- The dog didn’t bark during the taping of a podcast.
- A friend sent an “I’m thinking of you card” out of the blue.
BUT, when I expand my thinking to include wins, achievements, and highlights I find that I’m grateful for much more!
Now my nightly plan is to write down the first three things that come to mind that I’m grateful for, then to dig a little deeper into wins, achievements, and highlights.
Your turn – please share! Comment below on how you could apply the Rule of Three to your life.
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