Three and Done Organization

Posted by Practical Paper Co. on

Had a fun coffee date with a friend this morning (except...I had ginger peach tea, yum! Am I the only one who doesn't like coffee?)  It was such a relief to get away from the office for an hour and decompress.  We talked about life and friends, about being too busy, and wishing the summer would never end.  The sunflowers here are gorgeous this time of year, and we both love to run, which is much more fun to do with flowers and warm sunshine!

Sunflowers and peaks

We both own businesses, so of course we talked about work!  He told me about a struggle he's been having with an employee.  My friend is very organized and loves structure, but his employee is very scattered and bounces from task to task.  Key to-do items on her list aren't getting done, and he asked me what might work better for her.  My suggestion works equally well whether you're delegating to someone else, or just trying to get a handle on your own chaos.  I call it "Three and Done" and it's a great way to give yourself a boost when you're getting overwhelmed.

Three and Done is simple, and that's why it works!  This method requires you to maintain an ongoing to-do list, but you don't need to update it constantly or use any special method to categorize the list.  So, that's step one - write EVERYTHING you have to do in a list.  Not just stuff you need to do today, but literally all the stuff you've been carrying around in your head somewhere, creating worry and stress but not getting done.  This list doesn't need to be perfect or totally complete.  Just write down as much as you can.  You can always add more later!  (It's useful to have a special notebook or notepad for this, just so your list doesn't get swept away in life's chaos.)

Step two - Every morning, look at your list.  Pick THREE items that you absolutely want to complete that day.  Just three!  Don't say you'll do ten, because that increases that awful feeling at the end of the day that even though you did a million things, you didn't do the ten things on your list.  Three things!!

Step three - Set a time limit on getting those three items done.  In my friend's case, he will be helping his employee choose the three key items to do, and then asking her to complete them by noon.  Do the same for yourself!  Pick a realistic time...don't say you'll paint the entire house, sew new clothes for your entire family, and write six blog posts, and have it all done by noon.  Being realistic here will help you achieve greater success with this method!  It helps to be vocal about this...let people know you have to get this done and you'll be happy to help them later.  Guard the time you've set aside for these tasks as best you can.

And...that's it!  If you achieve your three chosen tasks within your time frame, give yourself a huge pat on the back.  Anything else you get done after that is a bonus!  Most of us are so busy it's not realistic to expect our entire to-do list to be done in a day, yet that's exactly what we do to ourselves.  We secretly think if we were more efficient, caffeinated, or just generally better people, we would get that whole list done in a few hours.  But, I suggest being your own best friend - you wouldn't expect your friend to do all that, every day, perfectly, so don't beat yourself up.  Create small, meaningful victories, and your to-do list (and list-related stress) will start to melt away.

Like this organization method?  Share it with a friend!  Thanks, and as always, we love hearing your comments!

Practical Paper Company

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