A Better To-Do List: The 1-3-5 Rule

A couple months ago, our co-founder and COO Alex Cavoulacos (who also happens to be the most productive person we know) shared her secrets for actually getting through your to-do list. And since then, we at The Muse have been trying out her tips on our own overflowing lists.

And you know what? They work.

One in particular has had a major impact on our productivity: the 1-3-5 rule.

Here’s the gist: On any given day, assume that you can only accomplish one big thing, three medium things, and five small things, and narrow down your to-do list to those nine items.

Sound scary? Well, it is, at first. But like it or not, you only have so many hours in the day, and you’re only going to get a finite number of things done. Forcing yourself to choose a 1-3-5 list means the things you accomplish will be the things you chose to do—rather than what happened to get done.

Of course, this can be flexible. If you spend much of your day in meetings, for example, you might need to revise this down a bit. If your position is one where each day brings lots of unexpected tasks, you might try leaving one medium and two small tasks blank in preparation for the last-minute requests from your boss.

But the point is, prioritization works. So, give it a whirl—we’ve even created a template you can use to try it out! Just download, print a few copies, and spend the rest of your days this week focusing on the few things that matter most. We think you’ll be surprised by how much you actually get done.

Author: salonsha

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