“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.” – The 1-3-5 Rule

Prioritizing work is like making a sandwich; everyone does it slightly differently and everyone thinks they know best. If your go-to strategy hasn’t been working recently or you’ve never settled on a way to prioritize the multitude of things you have to do in a day, you should try the 1-3-5 rule.

The basic idea is that you pick 1 “big” task, 3 “medium” tasks, and 5 “little” tasks to accomplish in a day. One of the biggest causes of work stress is dealing with long-term projects that suddenly end up behind schedule because they were never urgent enough to get on your radar. By prioritizing ahead of time and making sure some of those long-term projects that just love to go forgotten get on the list you can make major strides in reducing your stress at work.

At the very least, you’ll know what to work on each day and 9 tasks a day, every day, is a whole lotta forward progress.

  • http://twitter.com/samspurlin Sam Spurlin

    I conceptualize the medium tasks as being separate from the big task. However, I don’t think there’s any problem with having all your taks for a day aligned with one major project.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joyvilla Joy Villa

    This is brilliant! I like the “keep it to 9” rule, too. Great little article, thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/joyvilla Joy Villa

    Good idea to keep the flow going according to your energy, which is half the battle. Thanks!

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