I went to the cinema last night to watch The Mule starring Clint Eastwood. At the end of the film, Eastwood says something along the lines of, “money can buy a lot of things but it can’t buy time”.

This got me thinking about all those days where I lost time and didn’t achieve what I set out to do.

If this sounds familiar, then you may benefit from implementing the Rule of 3 into your work and personal life.

The Rule of 3 is a productivity technique that focuses on achieving three meaningful outcomes every day, week and year.

It originates from J.D. Meier’s book on time management, Getting Results the Agile Way.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Write down three things you want to accomplish today.
  2. Then, write down the three things you want to accomplish this week.
  3. Finally, jot down three things you want to accomplish this year.

At the end of each day, take some time to reflect and review your outcomes.

Was today a good day? Did you achieve what you set out to do? If not, reflect on the reasons why.


Getting More Done with the Rule of 3

Work smarter

The beauty of the Rule of 3 is its simplicity.

Instead of starting each day with a long list of unachievable to-dos, you’ll prioritise the three that you want to achieve today above everything else.

The outcomes you set are entirely up to you.

Meier recommends four things when implementing the Rule of 3.

  1. At the start of each day, decide what you want to focus on.
  2. Remind yourself throughout the day what your three outcomes are.
  3. Pay attention to how long you estimate a task will take compared to how long it actually takes. Your estimates should improve over time.
  4. Pat yourself on the back if you achieve what you set out to do that day, week and year.

Benefits of Implementing the Rule of 3

  • You work deliberately not reactively throughout your day.
  • It improves your mental focus and concentration and helps keep you on track.
  • It’s simple enough that you’ll actually do it.
  • Unimportant tasks are removed.
  • It prevents you/your team from getting overwhelmed.

With the Rule of 3, you make a commitment to getting three things done each day — that might not sound like a lot but over a year that’s 1,095 things.

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