The Rule of Three

It's amazing how many sayings there are in our culture about the number three. Think about it: "Good things (or bad) come in threes;" "Third time's the charm." A rule of thumb in speaking is, no more than three major points in a speech. (That was three examples, wasn't it?) And then there are all of the mystical references to powerful threesomes. My purpose today is to look purely at the practical application of this "rule of three," and see how we can use it to become more effective managers of our lives and priorities.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

* What are the three most important goals I want to achieve this year?

* What are the three most important things I need to complete today?

* What if I had only one hour in which to accomplish something important, what three things would I choose to do?

* What three clients or prospects do you most need to contact today?

It may be difficult to boil down your seemingly endless "to do" list to just three things, but asking the question forces you to make some powerful decisions about what is really important in your life, and what is, as Shakespeare wrote, is "sound and fury signifying nothing." And while you may still have many other tasks you want to complete, knowing your top three will begin to create a clarity, focus and momentum to your day.

Thoreau once admonished people of his day, who lived without the so-called time saving devices of cell phones, email, fax machines and rapid transportation, to let the affairs of the day number one and two, rather than having a long list of duties and obligations to tend to. I think he was on to something. What I've noticed (and hear from coaching clients and many others I speak to) is that we all try to cram too much stuff into too little time. As a result we're on constant overwhelm, running faster and faster but making little real progress toward what really matters because we don't know what really matters.

Experiment today and in the week ahead with this rule of three. Decide the three most important tasks you want to accomplish today and go at them first. Work the rest of your "to do" list around your top three. You may need to declare some time boundaries, i.e. closing your office door, letting the phone go to voicemail or not responding to every email that drops into your in box, but the results may well be worth it. Far too many of us (myself included) allow others to steal our time and make their priorities ours. It doesn't have to be that way. This week I encourage you to use the power of three: to focus, to build momentum, to create clarity about what's really important to you.

As with anything, applying the rule of three may require some extra discipline at first. But remember, "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again!"

***********************
Quote of the Week
***********************

"One always has time enough, if one will apply it well." ~~Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Betty Mahalik has been coaching small business owners, independent professionals and leaders who want to achieve more but stress less, since 1996. Her background includes several years in the broadcasting and public relations fields prior to starting her own firm in 1987. She is an accomplished public speaker and corporate trainer specializing in communications, goal-setting and leveraging your strengths. Since 2001, she has written a weekly motivational message, free to subscribers, titled Monday Morning Coach. To subscribe or learn more about Betty's coaching and training services, visit http://www.dynamic-coaching.com

In The News:

Watch  Quartz
Plan and Prioritize to Earn Back Time  Dairy Herd Management
Make Better Choices by Changing Your Behavior  Editor And Publisher Magazine

Increasing Your ROI

All requests are not equal; all customers or clients are... Read More

What Are You Thinking?

What would be your reaction if someone said to you... Read More

How To Make Your Job Easier

The techies could do a lot more to make our... Read More

Self Care

What does it mean to practice self care? It's creating... Read More

Where Do Your Priorities Fit?

An expert in time management was speaking to a group... Read More

New Adventures - in Four Hours a Day

"Can you find four extra hours in your day?" a... Read More

Making Headway on a Slow Day: 9 Ways to Turn Down-Time into Productivity Time

If you work from home, you know the kind of... Read More

Time Management Is Key

Having a home based business can be overwhelming. When you... Read More

Time Management: How To Get More Done

If you can regularly ask yourself "Am I regularly and... Read More

Expand Your Time

In our time-crazed society, lots of time is what most... Read More

Save Your Time - Delegate!

Frustration is when an obstacle blocks your ability to achieve... Read More

Time Management: 11 Tips

Work more efficiently and be more productive using these time-management... Read More

Hey, Free Agent, Did You Eat Your Breakfast Today?

And when you finally sat down to eat breakfast, was... Read More

How Would You Like to Capture Some Time?

Women's health issues often are focused on goals to reach:... Read More

How Much Is Poor Time Management Costing You?

* If you were paying you to prioritise emails over... Read More

Delegate or Drown

Why waste your precious time working on tasks, which are... Read More

Writing a Thank You Letter for Meeting

I have a habit of sending a thank you letter... Read More

Time Management - Working Smarter at Work

Let's look at your time management skills. Most of us... Read More

When Is Time Management Not Enough?

A working manager needs more than time management.That old saying,... Read More

House Cleaning - Three Ways To Finding The Time

It's always a challenge finding time to clean my house.... Read More

Scheduling Productive Days - Dont Interrupt, Im Pouring Concrete

Almost everyone in business knows the balancing act between the... Read More

Four Steps To Make Your Day Dynamic!

There are two ways to start your day. The first... Read More

Time is Money?

Not 1 in 10 people can tell you where money... Read More

Save Yourself Hours of Time in One Easy Step

If you have spent any time at all working at... Read More

How to Conquer the Five Major Time Wasters?

* spreading yourself too thinTaking on too many things at... Read More