Increase Your Productivity with Three Things

 Posted by on 4 December 2012 at 10:00 am  Advice, Productivity
Dec 042012

The super-awesome Manager Tools offers a really good newsletter to registered members with useful tips for work. They’re not always relevant to me, but many are indispensable gems that really make a difference in my productivity. To wit:

Do Three

There’s something magic about the number three. The idea that you can get three things done is not overwhelming but feels like progress. Three (of course) ways you can use three to things done:

One: Pick the next three things you need to do. Write them down on a post it or a piece of scrap paper. Do them. Every time you get distracted and think – what was I supposed to be doing? – go back to your short list. When you’ve done the first three, do another three. You’ll be amazed at how many completed postit notes you’ll end up with. I find this helps on days full of interruptions or when I’m feeling a little High I.

Two: At the end of the day, pick the most important three things for you to do the next day. Write them down. Do those things FIRST, before email, before phone calls, before any meetings. If you use this technique, you’ll always be working on your priorities.

Three: If your list is very long, pick three like things, and do just those. Three phone calls, three emails, three pages you need to print, three pieces of filing. If you like stability, do three more of those things until all that group is done. If you like variety, do three of something different.

None of this is rocket science. It’s all about overcoming inertia, often caused by overwhelm, and getting moving. Once you’re moving, things become much easier – you’re buoyed by the progress you’re making. It doesn’t matter if you’re entry level or the CEO, some days we all need a little help to get past our own flaws. Try a little three today.

I’ve begun implementing this technique this week, and I’ve found that I’m far more focused and productive. Right now, in fact, the three things on my list are:

  • Process inbox (that’s emptying my email inbox)
  • Wednesday Radio, Step 2 (that’s promoting the upcoming live broadcast)
  • Sunday Radio, Step 4 (that’s promoting the posted podcast)

Right now, I’m on the first task. The newsletter was sitting in my inbox, just waiting to be blogged. And now I can delete it and move to the next email. Hooray for getting stuff done!

You can find all the past newsletters of Manager Tools here. You can register with them — it’s free! — here.

Now … what are you three things to do next?

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