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What Are The Three Most Important Things In Your Life. . .Right Now?

July 17, 2015
  • Expense Report for Chicago Trip
  • Edit Report for Sean
  • Return McDonnell’s call

I have ADHD. (I Worked From Home Because The Light Was Red.) It’s actually pretty bad. I’m not a coffee drinker, so I take 120 mg of caffeine every morning. That’s about the same amount in a 44 oz Coke or Pepsi. I used to drink a lot of soda, but I started to lose the battle of bulge. (How I Lost 30 lbs And Why You Can’t.) But, even with a mild stimulant, my ADHD will, at times, paralyze me. I will be stuck in indecision. 

Fortunately, my employer wants me to not be frozen. The company wants me to be doing work. I say “fortunately” because if I didn’t have an incentive, I’d be tempted to stay stuck. But, I need to get unstuck. And I have a strategy for it. 

In comedy, jokes are written in threes. A joke with only one part might sound slightly funny. A joke with two parts sounds unbalanced. A joke with three parts, even if it’s not a great joke, will sound complete to the audience. For example, a friend, in hearing I had 13 kids, told me the following joke.

There are certain signs that will let people know you have a large family. For example, if you’ve ever had food delivered to your house on a pallet. That’s a sign of a large family.

If they wore nametags at your wedding. That’s a sign of a large family.

If you have to check your girlfriend against to make sure you’re not dating a relative, that’s a sign of a big family. 

There’s something about threes. 

In photography, pictures that are the most appealing are divided into thirds. For example, if you are taking a picture that includes the horizon, you want the horizon line to be at either the 1/3 or 2/3 point on the picture. If you put it at the 1/2 way point, it looks odd. 

The horizon is at about the 2/3 mark.

 The horizon is about at the 1/3 mark.

So, when I need to get unstuck, I pick three. Three things that I need to do next. I might have 20 things that need to be done that day. But, I can’t focus on 20. Twenty will simply confuse me and keep me from doing anything. Instead, I’ll pick three things out of that list. 

Ideally, I’ll pick the three most important. I often don’t. Because, it’s not about the items on the list. It’s about getting unstuck. It matters less what I do and more that I do something. 

In addition to picking three things, I’ll pick a timeframe. Typically it will be an hour, but sometimes it’s as short as 15 minutes. Other times I’ll set my tasks for the entire afternoon. (If reduce email in my inbox is a task it can take all afternoon.) 

There’s one more critical piece to my “Three Strategy.” I must write them down. I put them in a simple list with a “-” in front of them.

– Expense Report for Chicago Trip

– Edit Report for Sean

– Return McDonnell’s call

The “-” is important. When I finish the task, I put a line through it to turn it into a “+” sign. I love plus signs. If I have to move it to the next day, I’ll add another “-” and a “>” to turn it into an arrow “=>”. That way, I’ll know when I look back at my notes for the day if I completed a task (plus sign) or carried it over (arrow.) I also know if I didn’t work on it that day. 

Are they the three most important things in my life at that moment? Maybe not. But, they help me accomplish the most important thing in my life at that moment; getting unstuck. 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2015 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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