What if I told you that you can do more by doing less? It sounds ridiculous, too good to be true, but it’s not.
You can accomplish tasks with greater value and feel more fulfilled at the end of the day by doing far less than you likely are now.
Leo Babauta calls these things “Most Important Tasks (MITs)” in his book, The Power of Less, which is my favorite productivity book.
Leadership guru Michael Hyatt calls them the “Daily Big 3.”
I’ve read other authors who called these things the daily “A-B-C” or the daily “1-2-3.”
It makes no difference what you call them. Choosing three things to do each day is the key to productivity.
Identifying three things to do each day helps you:
- prioritize what’s most important,
- delegate tasks that you shouldn’t be responsible for anyway,
- say no to things that don’t matter, and
- feel accomplished and relaxed at the end of the day because you’re moving toward your goals and completing tasks that actually matter.
Moving toward your goals is the key. You can’t just do any three things on a given day and feel fabulously about it. The three things must be directly tied to your most important goals.
You also will have time to get other, smaller tasks done after you complete your daily three. The key is that you have to do your most important three items first. Everything else you do in the day is a bonus.
Here’s a simplified look at how this works:
Identify your goals
To move toward your bigger goals each day, you have to know what those goals are. Here’s a post on goal setting to help you out, if you’re uncertain.
Remember that it’s important to write down your specific, measurable goals and review them often. You can accomplish up to 10 big goals a year, but do them a few at a time.
Identify key tasks
What are the key tasks that you need to complete to reach your goals? You don’t even have to know them all initially. In fact, it’s unlikely that you will. Just think about the next right steps and write them down.
Schedule those tasks
Write down three tasks you’re going to do each day to move you toward your goals.
Most people do this the day before, like before they leave work for the day. That way, when they get to their desk the next morning, they know exactly what they need to jump in and do.
Document your daily three in whatever way works best for you. The key is to get the tasks out of your head, onto paper and ready to do.
Complete the tasks
Complete your daily three tasks before you do anything else. In other words, don’t sit down at your desk and check email for an hour. Sit down and immediately begin working on your tasks. Once you complete them, document the next steps, if you need to at that time. Then you’re ready to work on other things for the remainder of the day.
This type of productivity system takes a little bit more planning. However, when I do it, I always feel more relaxed in the evening because I got important work done and I’m not worried about what I need to do the next day. Give it a try! Let me know how you do.