Does this sound familiar to you?
You open your to-do list, and you find at least 20+ tasks. You don’t know what to do next, and you go through each of them without deliberation. By the end of the day, you realise that you haven’t accomplished much; you feel tired and disappointed.
Why does this happen? How can we be unproductive when we went through hoops ticking off each item in your to-do list?
The truth is, not all tasks are made equal. Some tasks have a higher impact and make you more fulfilled. Working on these tasks is the trick to being productive.
Instead of doing all the things on your to-do list, decide on the three most important tasks you want to accomplish by the end of the day. You can do this at the start of the day or the night before, but I find that doing it the night before allows me to get started immediately come the next day.
These three tasks are the things that contribute to your long term mission, value and goals. These are the tasks that you value the most and would make you the happiest if you got it done.
Focus on these three tasks first before doing anything else. You might feel productive by doing other unimportant things, but these tasks are a procrastination exercise on working on what matters.
Why you should focus on three tasks only
Each task you do has a cost. They take up time, energy and space that could be used for your most important tasks. Picking only three tasks means that you’ll have to let go of things that aren’t as important and focus on what is.
Instead of getting FOMO by not doing these tasks, develop the joy of missing out (JOMO). Allow yourself to miss out on the small things to be fully present for the big things that matter.
Another benefit of picking three tasks is that it allows you to eliminate tasks holding you back. These are the tasks that you care about but aren’t truly important. You might rationalise to yourself that these tasks are vital since you care about them, but all they do is put you off your progress.
Every week, pick three goals you want to accomplish by the end of the week. Most of the time, You should link your three daily goals to your three weekly goals.
Make the most out of your three tasks
After picking your daily three tasks, think about when, where and how you’re going to accomplish them. This method is called implementation intentions and can improve the likelihood of us doing the task.
It’s also helpful to set yourself reminders to stay on track on the three tasks during the day. You can do this by setting two alarms. When they go off, asks yourself:
Do you remember what your three daily tasks are? What about your three weekly goals? If you remember them, are you on track to completing them?
It’s equally as essential to work on your three tasks when you have the most energy. That way, you can complete these tasks in less time as you’ll be more focused.
At the end of the day, reflect on your three tasks. Did you achieve them? Or were they unrealistic? Were they too small or too huge for you? Use this to gauge what your future three tasks should be.
If you want to be more productive, focus on your three most important tasks.