· Productivity,task management,Rule of Three

Have you ever noticed that a lot of things in life come in threes? It’s not just a coincidence but there’s truly an art and science behind using the rule of three to improve effective communication. This principle suggests that things that come in threes are more interesting, enjoyable and memorable. There’s also a certain balance and rhythm when listing three items.

In fact, the Latin phrase, "omne trium perfectum" means that everything that comes in threes is perfect which reinforces this concept. Here are some of my favorite examples:

  • first, second, third
  • past, present, future
  • red, white and blue
  • hot, warm, cold
  • beginning, middle, end
  • small, medium, large
  • sun, sea and sand
  • ABC, 123
  • red, yellow, green
  • yesterday, today, tomorrow
  • stop, drop, roll
  • life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
  • big, bigger, biggest
  • high, medium, low
  • conceive, believe, achieve
  • stop, look, listen
  • gold, silver, bronze
  • earth, wind, fire
  • knife, fork, spoon
  • vanilla, chocolate, strawberry

When I started putting together my own prioritization system to improve my productivity, I came up with the concept of the Daily Top Three. Each day, before tackling anything, I think about my goals, review my task list and select my top three tasks for the day. Not one, not two or four or five – just THREE.

Just as the rule suggests having three tasks is easy to remember, seems manageable and just challenging enough. Now there are days that I get 5 or 6 tasks done and other days, I barely manage to get one done. But the end of the day, no matter how many tasks I complete, I still select three more tasks to focus on the next day. It just feels right.

TRY THIS OUT: Take a look at your to-do list. If you don’t have one, you may want to quickly create one. Think about your goals and pick out three tasks to focus on and get them done. Once those three are complete, then go back and pick three more.

What are some of your favorite lists of three that I might have missed?

After 25 years in the corporate world, working at Lotus Development, Ernst & Young, The Weather Channel and Play On! Sports, Monisha Longacre has founded her own company, Productivity101 and created priorigami: the art of productivity. Her mission is to provide simple, actionable and easy-to-use tools to help busy adults track, prioritize and complete tasks, to better manage their time and become more productive. Her goal is for priorigami to become the "FitBit" for productivity to help people lead more meaningful lives.

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