I don’t know about you, but for me Mondays have always been a bit… peculiar. I know there’s noting intrinsically wrong with them, and it’s all because we chose this circaseptan rhythm, which is arbitrary. It could have been a 3 days “week”, or 12 days one, but it just so happens that we chose a 7 day structure. Nevertheless, because we play in this system, and because they came after 2 days of conventional rest, Mondays are usually the “difficult” day of the week.
Because of that, I’m writing every Monday a short thing about how we can move forward, how we can get unstuck and have a more streamlined start of the week.
Today, I’m going to talk about the “just 3 things” technique. It’s not really a technique, but the word “technique” sounds good, isn’t it?
Well, technique or not, one of the easiest things you can do to move forward when you’re overwhelmed, is to reduce the amount of stuff you need to get done to only 3 main tasks. You may have more than 3 on your to do list – and obviously that’s the reason you feel overwhelmed – but you prioritize only 3 that needs to be done at their “best” level.
By crossing off these 3 main tasks, and de-prioritize the rest, you generate a feeling of “at least I’m doing something”.
Another benefit of this approach is that sometimes I get to cross off these 3 tasks before noon, which leaves the rest of the day free for other projects. Just by putting behind me 3 tings, I created room for more.
Of course, the tasks need to be consistent and relevant, I wouldn’t put something like “drink water”, for instance. It follows then, that the most important part of this “technique” is choosing which are these 3 main tasks.
Usually, it’s a matter of urgency versus importance, meaning you pick either urgent, or very important tasks – but the key part of the process is the “wholesomeness” of any of these 3. In other words, no matter if it’s urgent or important, the task must be in such a way that once you finished it, it’s finished.
For instance, I would be wary of choosing “process all your emails” as one of these 3 tasks, because I might process emails many times during the day. Hence, I will always have a difficult time choosing the crossing off moment – or I would delay it constantly, adding up to the feeling of being unproductive. But if one of these 3 tasks is “run 5km”, or just “exercise”, it’s way easier: once I’m finished, I’m done, no need to get back to it again.
Of course, by sticking to only 3, it also means you may have to make peace with the fact that the remaining tasks may not be done as good as these 3, or may even be postponed.
So, even if at the beginning it looks like you’re downsizing, or slowing down, what really happens is you get unstuck, you actually move forward, by crossing off the list what’s important or urgent, and rescheduling the rest.