The rule of 3 + 1

Over the past two weeks I’ve been overhauling my work to do list. For a variety of reasons I had not been maintaining it and it had become dysfunctional.

The first step was to make sure that I had captured everything that ‘needed’ to be done. This was a slog, but relatively easy to achieve. The list is still too long and needs to be edited, which will happen over the course of the next few days.

However, I was a bit stumped when it came to arranging the list, so that I would know what I plan to do each day, and make sure that it would be achievable. Then I remembered a rule that I used when I feel that I was at my most effective –

the rule of 3 + 1.

The rule of 3+1

Basically, the rule means that I only ever plan to complete 4 tasks in a day, and the fourth task is ALWAYS to identify the next three tasks.

If that sounds simple, then I’m pleased – it’s meant to be.

The rule of 3 + 1 means that I am clear about what I’m planning to do;  the daily list are achievable; and I remember to plan what’s next when I’ve completed my three tasks.

Do you have any alternative, simple way to deal with your to do list?

Footnote: a wee variation that I have added is to identify the most important task of the day and give it a high priority marker (the purple star in my doodle). This is, in part, how I measure the success of each day. If the most important task has been done, to the quality that I intended, then I can feel good about my day. It’s not always the first task that I do, but it should be the one that gets my best energy and attention.


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