I spend a lot of time thinking about productivity hacks. I read books, listen to podcasts, waste hours of what should otherwise be productive time fapping around online looking for surefire procrastination cures. Yes, I get the irony.
There is one piece of advice I’ve only recently come to accept, however. The rule of three things. This rule says that no matter how much you have on your to-do list, no matter how full your whiteboard may be with supercritical undone projects and unmet deadlines, you need to start each day by making a list of three things you're going to address.
And then you scratch out two. Because you're not going to get to them.
A truth has never spoken to me as personally or as powerfully as this one. I'm looking at my whiteboard right now, and I can see about 20 things on it that I could be doing. There just aren't enough hours in the day, or even the year to get through it all. But something that I have come to accept about myself during the plague is that I am not a multitasker. I can do one thing well at any one time. I might, if I'm really lucky, get two things done in a day. And that's it. Nothing more.
That might sound a bit piss week, but it's not. If the only thing I do is write 4000 words on a single project, that's a pretty good result for the day.
I don't even know why I'm telling you this. Probably because I had a spare 12 minutes in my one hour writing block. I finished my column early, and I knew there was no point trying to start on my book project in that limited amount of time I had left. So I made a liar of myself and this blog post by getting two things done today. And maybe I’ll press on to three and knock over another chapter of the last Zero Day Code novel.
But the advice still stands.
Make a list. Cut it back to three items.
Do one of them.
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