The art of productivity is not about completing a heap ton of tasks. Rather it is about accomplishing meaningful and impactful outcomes. The Rule of 3 helps us achieve a high level of productivity with conscious efforts.
During this time of the internet, it is very easy to fall down a video blackhole. These distractions make us lose focus and we start to procrastinate. So how do we try to avoid these distractions?
This is when the rule of 3 comes into the picture. The rule helps us accomplish 3 meaningful outcomes and get small wins every day.
This technique was first mentioned in the book “Getting Results the Agile Way” by J.D Meier. The technique which is based on the agile methodology was introduced to help people achieve productivity, Time management, and work-life balance.
During the pandemic when many of us are working out of our homes, this technique might help us achieve better outcomes even when we are surrounded by distractions.
The rule of 3 is quite similar to Ivy Lee’s method, even the 1-3-5 rule. Though Ivy lee’s method insists on writing down 6 tasks. The rule of 3 cuts it short. Here you only need to accomplish 3 outcomes.
Let’s dig deeper into understanding the rule of 3 and how it empowers the user in accomplishing more meaningful outcomes in our daily life.
Table of Contents
What is the Rule of 3?
The rule of 3 is a simple but effective agile-based technique that helps in focusing on the most meaningful outcome to achieve every day, week, month, and year.
The idea as mentioned earlier was first introduced in the book “Getting Results the Agile Way” as a way to help everybody master time management. Productivity and work-life balance.
The rule is simple: 3 wins for a day, week, month, and year.
- Identify three outcomes you want for the day.
- Identify three outcomes you want for the week.
- Identify three outcomes you want for the month.
- Identify three outcomes you want for the year.
For these outcomes, go small, as in looking for marginal gains. Have an idea of the bigger picture but always strive for progress rather than perfection.
That’s it! The rule is about achieving these 3 outcomes in every aspect. It’s like taking baby steps towards a big vision. Conquering one task after another.
There are 4 simple recommendations to achieve this.
The book recommends 4 simple ways to make the rule of 3 efficient and successful.
Start with the 3: Every day when you wake up ask yourself “what are the 3 things that I wish to accomplish today?” What are the things that are of highest priority on my list?. These questions will help you to get your priority straight and help you to focus your time and energy on these tasks.
Test yourself: If you have difficulty in remembering your 3 wins or are not able to come up with these 3 tasks then it’s kind of complicated. These 3 wins should be easily visible and noticeable to you. Test yourself every time in the day, if you are able to recollect what 3 wins you are trying to achieve.
Improve your estimates: Pay attention to your activities. How long does it take to complete a specific activity, everyone has a different capacity. Once you get the hang of it, you will be able to better estimate the time to complete the activity.
Feel good about the results: At the end of the day write down the 3 accomplishments of the day. These will be the three wins, but if you were not able to complete them, then see what learning you can get from it. Was there a better way to do it, or maybe a different approach?
Rule of 3 examples
The Rule of 3 is meant to make things easier and help you focus more on the tasks at hand. But how can you add this rule to your daily life? Before embracing any rule or idea, remember the most important aspect of any productivity technique is to make life easier.
If you are finding life difficult after implementing these techniques, then maybe it is not for you.
So how do you go about this Rule of three-technique? One of the simplest ways to do this is to ask yourself, “What are the 3 things that if I do today will make life easier?” and “what are the most important things that I need to complete?”
We, humans, tend to procrastinate about important tasks and often turn to tasks that are much easier and of lesser priority.
So make sure you have priority also in your mind while deciding what tasks or activities to accomplish.
I have personally been using the rule of 3 for quite a few days. Here’s how I structure it. First of all, I brain dump all the activities that are to be accomplished. Then I assign them a priority. Using this list helps me in coming up with important tasks.
One of my yearly goals last year was to lose weight. So one of my everyday activities used to include running for 30 mins. But yes this was not feasible every day since sometimes there were tasks more important than running. So I would skip it for that day, I would still get the run if my 3 tasks are completed.
Rule of 3 doesn’t mean you perform only 3 tasks, but make sure your 3 tasks are your first priority. Daily I accomplish more than 3 tasks but the focus on these 3 helps me clear my priorities.
Rule of 3 template
Tools complement our work and make it easier to reach our goals. Here I have created a simple but effective rule of 3 notion templates. This template will help you better manage your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. With highlights of the bigger picture always in sight.
The Notion template of the rule of 3 consists of options to create a task to-do list. You can easily track your daily and weekly tasks from what we call, “The rule of 3 Dashboard”.
You can get access to this FREE Notion template by clicking on the button below.
I am also creating a PDF template of the rule of 3. This will be a paid template but will have a more aesthetic feel.
From my personal experience, I can say, things are difficult when you start. But over time with persistence and a little bit of patience, you will be able to accomplish tasks that you never imagined.
The most important aspect of it is to show up every day. The rule of 3 which has its core in Agile methodology brings the process approach to the technique.
Though it is a simple method, make sure you select your tasks wisely.