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This “1-3-5 Rule” Can Completely Change Your To-Do List


Do you have a cluttered and crowded to-do list? Do you try to get everything accomplished, only to burn out and end up feeling further behind? If so, you’re not alone.

While reading The New Rules of Work, a new book by co-founders of The Muse, I stumbled on an alternative to-do list strategy that I thought was worth sharing.

Here’s the strategy:

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.

Visually, it might look like this:

1-3-5 To-Do

Simple, right? You’ll probably still want to keep a master list of all the things on your list (having them written down or stored digitally is much better than trying to remember them), but this list is all about prioritization.

It’s important to make progress on big things. However, most of us still have small things we need to knock off the list too. And of course, some things aren’t quite big or small—they’re in the middle.

You can’t do five big things a day. But you can do five little things. So pick one big thing, three medium things, and five small things. Then get to work!

*Thanks to The Muse for letting me steal borrow this idea. Check out their new book!


Image: Glenn

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About Anas Alaoui

Anas Alaoui

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