The Top 3 Method and the Element of Time

In my last post, “Simplifying Your Life with the “Top-Three Method, I shared with you a clever approach to getting things done — a way that would help clear away actual clutter and mind clutter.  Too much of our attention is wasted on such clutter, leaving little room to see what’s really important in our lives.

Creating Categories

As I’ve regularly been creating my list of the “Top 3”, I realized the list was missing a couple of things.  First of all, I have so many more things that need doing than just three.  I wondered how I was to remember all of those things that were waiting to get onto the “Top 3” list.

So, I decided to create a list for each category of things that needed doing.  Right now, I’ve got a list for things to do in my business, things to do in the house, investment ideas, hobbies, and just miscellaneous things.  Each one of those lists has a large heading with the name of the category on separate pieces of paper.

Now, when I create my “Top 3”, I determine which categories to work from.  Sometimes I’ll pick one from each category to make the “Top 3” list more interesting.  At other times, it’s what I know is more of a top priority item, no matter the category.

Time Is an Element That Must Be Considered

The number one thing you must remember when creating this “Top 3” list — whatever gets on the list you must be able to accomplish in a day’s time.  This “Top 3 List” isn’t a list of things you hope to get around to one of these days.  The objective is to be able to cross off the three items by the end of the day.  You want a clean slate so you can create a new “Top 3” list for the next day.

If you’re finding that whatever you have on the ’Top 3” isn’t getting accomplished, your items are too broad.  For example, I could put as the first thing on the list to clean out my closet.  If I were being honest with myself, I’d know that I could never get it all done in 6-8 hours.  Way too many things that will definitely get me distracted in the process (such as thumbing through photo albums and reliving the events those pictures portray).  I’d be better off being realistic with myself and say that cleaning out the closet is at least a three-day affair.  But for today, my goal is to get the top shelf completed.  Done!

Don’t Forget the Item Called “Fun”

Another revelation with this exercise of creating a list of three things was realizing that I wasn’t having time for anything “fun”.  For those of you who need lists, sometimes writing something down such as “Fun” means it will happen.  Otherwise, it’s not happening.  (There are the lucky ones who don’t need to be reminded about having fun.  However, they’re often the ones who need to be reminded of things that need to get done!)

So, I decided that along with my “Top 3”, I would also list something that I want to do for just the sheer pleasure of it.  For example, I just took up painting with watercolor pencils.  Now, I want to spend a little time each day learning more about it, experiencing how to best to do a picture.  On another day, I might put on the list to practice the guitar, as I’m trying to learn the instrument I have long wanted to play.

And that brings me back to my having talked about (in my referred post above) bringing balance into your life.  It isn’t just a matter of accomplishing tasks, but enjoying life along the way.

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