Learn The 3×333 Method, or How To Get 1,000 Tasks Done
1,000 tasks?! Is that possible? That’ll take a lifetime, right? No way it could take a sensible amount of time to accomplish 1,000 tasks or to-do items, right?
That’s what I used to think too.
Enter the 3×333 Method.
You want to get more done in your life and business, right? I mean, if you’re reading an article written by me, I have to assume that is something you want to do.
Can you imagine the impact of getting 1,000 targeted tasks done? Does it seems like an impossible feat? Do you think you have a better chance of climbing Mount Everest a couple times first? Well, let me help you implement a simple new method into your life.
What is the 3×333 Method? Completing three tasks every day for 333 days.
Just three tasks. Nothing too scary there, right? Three tasks is all you need to do. Want to take breaks on weekends? Go for it. It’s your life. But the more you commit, the more you’ll get out of this method.
How many tasks did you get done last year? Without a tracking system in place, it’s impossible to tell if you got any closer to your goals, or if each day was productive or a total wash. A year from now, wouldn’t it be amazing to actually see that you accomplished 1,000 tasks and be able to witness the direct impact of those things? Your answer is yes, so let’s keep going.
There are just five steps. (I know, I know. I should’ve made it three.)
The structure of the 3×333 Method:
Step #1: Create a recurring calendar reminder for the same time every morning.
This is VERY important. Hence why it’s Step #1.
Whether you use the calendar app on your phone, Google Cal, Sunrise, Outlook, a physical daily planner, or you have an assistant who manages your every need (who probably deserves a raise, by the way), a recurring daily reminder is critical. It’ll help this method become an expected part of your day instead of a frustrating interruption.
I recommend having the 3×333 Method be your first calendar item of the day. Yeah, go ahead and make coffee and surf your Instagram feed, but after that, your 3×333 alarm should be going off. Have this calendar item recur every single day into eternity. Don’t worry about ending it on day 333. That’s not important. Stop wasting time on things that don’t matter right now. Recurring calendar reminder at a set time. Boom. Done.
Step #2: Write out your three tasks as soon as the alarm goes off.
This, my friends, helps you build a habit. And what do habits do? They help you get stuff done when you struggle to get stuff done!
I’d recommend a piece of paper or a journal/notebook. I found I get way more things done when I do the physical act of writing something down (instead of creating yet another new page/list in a to-do list app). Plus, the beauty of a piece of paper is you can crumple it up each day and get a little destructive satisfaction in your life! And if you use a journal or notebook? It’s fun to leaf back through the pages when you’re needing a little boost about exactly how much you’re accomplishing every day. (Just try to get a notebook that can fit 333 3-item lists on it so you don’t need to move to a second journal/book).
What should you write down for your three tasks? Things you can get done that day! “Write my best-selling novel” is not a one-day task. Write something simpler and more accomplishable—something that helps you achieve the much bigger goal to write a best-selling novel (or whatever your bigger goal is). Things like:
- Write 500 words of Chapter 3: the section about my awkward playground experience on the jungle gym.
- Spend 10 minutes answering emails.
- Do slides 25-30 for XYZ Business powerpoint.
- Skype call with Paul about new podcast.
The smaller and more concise the tasks you write down, the better the chances that you’ll actually get them done! (If you don’t get them done, the next step will help you.)
Step #3: Every day, focus on getting those three things done. If you miss one or two, carry them over.
Let’s say you’re on Day 7, and you’ve just sat down to review your list of three items from Day 6. You realize you didn’t get the last item done. Uh oh. Don’t worry! This will happen. Be okay with it. Don’t freak out and go on a weird donut-binging bender or anything. What you’ll need to do is rewrite the task you didn’t get done from Day 6 as the first task to do on Day 7. Then add your two new tasks.
Not getting a task done may feel like you’ve derailed your 3×333 to 1,000 progress, but that’s just not true. How do I know? Just trust me. I’m your getting-things-done sherpa. Keep going. Keep pushing forward. I’ll explain in Step 5.
Step #4: 3×333 does not equal 1,000.
Thank you, Einstein! But here’s the beautiful thing about the 3×333 Method. Eventually, you’re going to have days where you get more than three tasks done. GASP! I know. Your mind has entered a state of fireworks and Michael Bay 360-degree-explosions.
If you’re a strict rule follower, here’s the missing 1,000th task: Do four tasks on Day 333.
You may finish your 1,000 tasks way ahead of 333 days. Great! I’m extremely proud of you, and I’d like to give you a blue ribbon for your accomplishment. The goal is to help you get going, so get going.
Step #5: Don’t quit. You will build momentum.
This is where you go out on a limb and you trust me. You trust the guy who puts “Does Stuff” in his website URL. You trust a guy who, for nearly 900 straight days, worked without a day off. You trust someone who embraces his overly efficient (some may call it OCD) tendencies.
If you keep your tasks small and achievable, you will have no problem getting to 1,000. Maybe on Day 10, you’ll hit a snag. Or on Day 20, your dog will have to have emergency plastic surgery so he can get the part he’s always dreamed of in that Petco commercial. (I really hope cosmetic surgery isn’t actually a thing for dogs.) But if you stick with this process, you will build momentum.
If you want the 3×333 Method to help you achieve a larger goal, you can target your tasks in that direction. If you want simply to get more things done every day, the same method will help you go to bed each night feeling accomplished.
Completion and consistency are like compounding interest. You don’t see the benefits right away, but we all know it works.
Bonus Step #6: Get an accountability partner.
The first time I did the 3×333 Method as a formal thing was in April 2015, and we called it Pow Pow with the Bow Wow. This was a cute name my roommates came up with when we used to have morning meetings to list the three tasks we were going to get done each day. Calling it the 3×333 Method is a bit simpler (even though Pow Pow with the Bow Wow is more fun to say).
As a household, we met every morning at the exact same time. It was our Step #1: the recurring item on all our calendars. We sat together and wrote a physical list of the three tasks we each wanted to get done. Then we’d refer to this list throughout the day and reflect on it the next morning, repeating the process over and over again.
If you have a friend, co-worker, or significant other, bring them into your 3×333. The three daily tasks don’t have to be business-related. I’ve kept them that way for this audience, but everyone has things they need to get done on a daily basis. Your list might include tasks for your forthcoming Bassett Hound Cosmetic Surgery Clinic, but your friend might just list personal errands. Just write things down, and focus on getting them done!
If you’re looking for some scientific backing to the 3×333 Method, you won’t find any.
I made it up. Just like other human beings make up all the magical things around us in our world. But doesn’t this seem like a really actionable, practical way to get 1,000 tasks done? Yes, you still have to do the actual work involved with those 1,000 tasks, but now you have a process and a guide to help keep you on track. And you’ll have proof, after 333 days, that you’re a productivity machine!
The unintended consequences of inconsistency are easy to ignore. Give yourself a chance to become an action-taking kung-fu master and to prove to yourself (and anyone else you want to prove things to) that you can accomplish 1,000 tasks in the next 333 days.
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It’s fun to see some folks sharing their experience using the 3×333 method on Twitter!
Following @iwearyourshirt‘s 3×333 and just finished my third task by noon. Today is a good day 😉
— Richard Finnie (@RichardFinnie) February 19, 2016
@iwearyourshirt On day 2 of the 3×333 Method. So far, so good. 🙂
— Autism At The Parks (@AutismAtThePark) February 16, 2016