Do you have trouble prioritizing all the things you need to get done? Worry no longer! Follow the “Rule of Three” for better time management of all of the things you have to get done.
No matter how many different things you do in a week or a month, there are only three tasks and activities that account for 90% of the value of the contribution you make to your business. This is known as the “Rule of Three”.
- MAKE A LIST
If you make a list of everything you do in the course of a month, it will probably include 20, 30, or even 40 different tasks and responsibilities. If you review your list carefully, item by item, you will find that only three items on your entire list account for 90% of your value to your business.
The 3 Magic Questions
How do you determine your “big three”? Simple. Make a list of ALL your work tasks and responsibilities, from the first day of the month to the last day, and throughout the year. Then answer these three magic questions.
#1. If I could only do one thing on this list, all day long, which one activity would contribute the greatest value to my business?
Your most important task in the Rule of Three – one that accounts for the greatest contribution you can make to your business – will probably pop out at you when you make a list. It will usually be quite clear to you, as it is clear to the people around you. Put a circle around that item.
#2. If I could only do two things on this list, all day long what would be the second activity that would make the greatest contribution to my business?
Usually, this item will jump out at you as well. It may require a little bit more thought, but it is usually clear and obvious.
#3. If I could only do three things on this list, all day long what would be the third activity that would contribute the most value to my business?
When you make a list and analyze your answers you will clearly see that only three things you do account for almost all of the value that you contribute. Starting and completing these tasks is more important than everything else you do.
- DON’T WASTE TIME
If you do not know the answers to these three questions, you are in serious trouble. You are in great danger of wasting your time and wasting your life at work. If you do not know the answers to the Rule of Three questions, you will always end up working on lower-level value and often no-value activities.
When you are able to recognize what three tasks account for 90% of your value, it is like everything else you are doing fades away. The other tasks can be delegated, done later, or not done at all. Time management will be much easier because you will know exactly what you are working on and the value that you are contributing.
- TAKE ACTION!
If you are unclear for any reason, go ask your boss. Ask what your boss thinks are your most important things that you do to make your most valuable contribution at work. Ask your coworkers. Ask your spouse. But whatever you do, you must know the answers to the Rule of Three.
Before you begin work for the day, take some time to think slowly, make a list, select your most important task, and then start work on that task to the exclusion of everything else. Time management starts with you being able to make a list and identifying your top tasks.
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