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The Power of 3: How to Get It All Done

March 29 2011

stressedWhen you look at your to-do list, do your insides turn into a tangled mess of anxiety?

That's probably because you put EVERYTHING on it. It's overwhelming. And feeling like you might drown is not conducive to accomplishing anything.

The problem could be that visually your list is too big.

What if there were only 3 things on that list? Would you feel better?

"The brain finds it relatively easy to grasp threes.

Push that marginally up to four and the brain gets confused about where to look and what to do" (source: – great article on the power of three there).

If looking at just 4 things can send your brain into a tizzy, imagine what your list of 47 things is doing.

"But just 3 things?" you ask. "I have way more than 3 things to get done."

Yes, but you probably won't get them done today. Especially if you're smothered by a 10lb to-do list.

Here's the Plan:

Each morning (or night before, if that's your thing) list the top 3 things you absolutely have to get done that day. Then do them.

You can do other things throughout the day, but come closing time those 3 things must be done.

If you're not comfortable with just 3 things for the day, try listing 3 things to do before lunch, then 3 to do after lunch.

But I Need Longer Term Goals!

Fair enough. What 3 projects do you need to complete this month or week? Have a master list of those 3 things.

As you're making your daily lists, make sure that each item (or at least 2 out of 3) is related to a goal on your master list.

Baby Steps Cover Great Strides

I don't know if that's an actual saying. If not, I'm coining it now. Three things a day may seem like a drop in the bucket when you've got a to-do list as long as your arm, but you'd be amazed how quickly those bundles of three add up.

Try it for a week and see for yourself.

Have a unique to-do list tip or idea? Share it in the comments!

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