It’s no fun to fall behind. But your don’t have to stay there.

Behind

Falling behind?

First of all, remember —
You can’t manage time. 
In fact, there’s nothing you can do about time.
But — you can manage yourself.
And yes, I know you’ve heard that before.
But if you’ll stay with me for just two more minutes, you’ll be glad you did.
Because here’s a way to manage yourself —
And get everything essential on your list done today.
And it’s based on a leadership principle called the “Rule of 3,” from Getting Results the Agile Way, by J.D. Meier.

Experience the Power of 3.

The Power of 3 is a self-management process that focuses on achieving three meaningful outcomes every day, every week, every month, and every year.
And one of the things I love about the Rule of 3 is that it is simple and easy to use
So I use it:-)
Here’s how it works:
•    First, identify three priority outcomes for this week.
•    Then, identify three priority outcomes for today.
And you can do the same for the month and the year.
That’s it.
And you may be thinking: “No way. It can’t be that simple.”
But yes — it’s that simple.

So let’s drill down.

First, notice that for each of these categories (day, week, etc.) — that you are looking at three priority outcomes.
We’re not saying that you only get three things done each day.
We’re just saying that these three things take priority over everything else —
So you don’t fall behind.
And yes —
You do many things in a given day —
But with the power of 3 you have to get your three priorities done by the end of the day.
Because when you do, instead of being behind — you’ll be on track to reaching your goals.
And when you are on track to reaching your goals, you can sleep at night and enjoy your free time.
So learning to prioritize is key.

Let’s take a closer look.

So let’s take a closer look at this powerful tool:
There are five steps to the process:
1. Float:
If you start each day with a massive to-do list, you won’t be very productive.
Instead, you’ll be overwhelmed and falling behind.
But if you’ll let the three most important results you need to achieve today float to the top
And commit to doing those things above all else, then you will have a productive and satisfying day — even if much on your list is still undone.
2. Focus:
For example –“Call Bob” on a to-do list doesn’t actually tell me much.
But, “Get final sign-off from Bob to proceed on project,” focuses me on the desired outcome, even while it leaves open how to do it.
Does it matter if Bob gives me the OK via email or text? Maybe not.
But notice what has happened here.
Now, I am focused much more clearly on the desired outcome.
And with this additional focus on specific information, I can prioritize my list much better.
3. Stretch:
Think ambitious, but achievable goals.
It’s probably not feasible to write a book this month — but how great would you feel if you finished a novel by the end of the year?
That would be ambitious and a worthy stretch.
You get the idea.
This system is not meant to let you slack.
Rather, it is meant to give you ambitious goals you can celebrate when you achieve them.

And after the stretch — 

4. Adjust: Over the course of a day/week/month/year, new priorities will probably arise.
The Rule of 3 isn’t meant to be rigid. After all, it’s an agile process.
If the new thing floating to the top is more important than one of the three outcomes you’ve already identified, feel free to replace it. But be sure that the new thing actually is more important.
Otherwise, you run the risk of getting yourself into the trap of reacting to the (seemingly) urgent without regard to accomplishing the most important things.
Finally,
5. Reflect: Take time for reflection. What worked well? What didn’t?
Feel good about what you accomplished. Men who feel good at the end of the day — who actually take time to appreciate what they have done, celebrating their small wins — are more motivated the next day to take on a new challenge.

Let’s do the math.

So — let’s do the math.
Because if you do your three most important things each day, you will do 15 essential things in a 5 day work week.
Which means that in an average month, you will do 60 essential things.
Imagine of the power of that!
60 essential things in one month.
And if the things you are doing are truly essential — this is powerful progress indeed.

The key? Set priorities.

Obviously, the success of the this process is the concept of priorities.
If you do 60 non-essential things each month, that’s good — but it’s not rocking your socks off.
But 60 essential things — wow!

To be continued…

 If you’d like to know more about this process, check out part 2 of this series on the how to get things done.
Next, we’ll look at how to set priorities.
In the meantime, begin thinking about what three things are most important to you today.
In the midst of your busy day —
What if you could only get the three most important things done.
What would they be?

That’s all for now.
Until next week — be well, do good work, and keep in touch:-)
As always, if you’d like to go deeper, send me your comments or questions to mark@marknewtonpdx.com.
And I’ll be in touch:-)