06 January 2012

List of Three

For a number of years I've been receiving Philip Humbert's weekly "Tips" newsletter (http://www.philiphumbert.com). I like Phil's newsletter. They're success orientated, but recognise that success does not necessarily mean lots of money, flashy cars and over sized houses. Success is a very individual pursuit.

Some time ago he suggested a very simple method of getting things done. I wish I could find his instructions, 'cause there was a little more to it than I'm about to explain. However, the premise was to take a small card that will fit in your pocket, wallet, etc - so you have it with you all the time. On one side of the card you write three things you have to do today. You will not go to bed until those three things are done. I think on the other side you kept the full to-do list. But the three things are a priority.

Well, I've substituted my to-do app on my phone for the card. After all, I have my phone with me 24/7. I started on the 2nd (not into NY Resolutions). Each day I enter three tasks that I
will do today. For the last four days I've completed all but one of them. The outstanding task was a little ambitious and multi-step undertaking.
To add a little accountability, I thought I'd post each of my three tasks on Twitter and then post when they're done. Obviously, my explanation is a little longer than 140 words - hence the blog post. Gees, what did we do before the internet?

The important thing, for me, about the "list of 3" is that they don't necessarily have to be important or life-changing tasks. They're things that I would probably put off without some prompt to get them done.
Here's my lists to date (with a little explanation):
2 Jan
  1. Fit kitchen shelves - this is my outstanding task. It really should have been just the first step, but I'm leaving it there until it's done.
  2. One bookshelf - we're decluttering our books, one shelf at time. This task is likely to be reoccurring for the next few weeks (at least)
  3. Bedroom floor - it just needed to be vacuumed and mopped - every square, dusty inch of it, which means moving the bed and everything
3 Jan
  1. Masters - to buy bits and pieces including cucumber seedlings and kitchen shelf brackets (and check out whether it really is as good as Bunnings)
  2. Weed veggie patch - self explanatory really
I didn't have a "3 3/1", because after the kitchen shelves I was thinking "smaller, smaller", and then went too small, listing each item I wanted from Masters as a separate task. It's a learning process.

4 Jan

  1. Plant cucumbers - I'd bought them, they needed planting
  2. Buy newspapers for GP cage - we don't buy newspapers, but we'd run out of freebies for lining the guinea pig cage
  3. Call Trev, plan worship - needed it for Sunday
5 Jan
  1. Clean out the "deal with it" drawer - this is the 'pre-filing' drawer.
  2. Plant low-growth seeds - I have had a collection of seeds, some years old. So I dump them into a container based on their growth habit - root, low, high, climber.
  3. Clean study desk and shelf - my desk is used for study, for sewing, for work and is everyone else's general repository for junk they're not sure what to do with
As you can see - nothing particularly astonishing there. If you look closely though, you'll see that some tasks have a theme. I could set myself a NY resolution (or just an every-day goal) of setting up my veggie patch again, which is a big task - it needs to be weeded, dug over, plants bought, plants planted, rah-rah. Hours and hours of work. Easier to leave it until 'later'. If I set myself a single simple task each day, before you know it - there's a veggie patch happening.

The other important thing about the List of 3, is that they're not my only activity for the day. They are simply three things that I am going to prioritise on any given day.
As things I want to achieve occur to me, I'm adding them to a general list of tasks. Some of them will simply happen as a matter of course, others will get transferred (in small chunks) to my List of 3.
My aim is for each of the tasks I set myself each day to be important to me. I found a little quote last year that I'm using to help me determine just how important things are:

If it's important to you, you will find a way
If not, you'll find an excuse.

If I'm finding excuses not to do things, why are they not important? Have I set the wrong goals? Are they my goals or are they goals I think I "should" be aiming for? Am I wasting time and energy on things that really aren't important to me after all?

I have no idea how long I'll keep the posts to Twitter going, but I thought I'd try it. My first post (including the link to this blog) I'm including on Facebook, but after this one, I'm only posting to Twitter. So, if you're at all interested in whether I achieve a 1,000+ tasks by the end of the year, you'll have to follow me there.

I found Phil's instructions:

1 comment:

Lindi said...

What a great idea!