A Better To-Do List: The 1-3-5 Rule

The 1-3-5 Rule

Feel like you always have a hard time actually getting through your to-do list? We've come up with the perfect solution-the 1-3-5 Rule. 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.

Sound scary? Well, it is, at first. But like it or not, you only have so many hours in the day, and you're only going to get a finite number of things done. Forcing yourself to choose a 1-3-5 list means the things you accomplish will be the things you chose to do-rather than what happened to get done.

Of course, this can be flexible. If you spend much of your day in meetings, for example, you might need to revise this down a bit. If your position is one where each day brings lots of unexpected tasks, you might try leaving one medium and two small tasks blank in preparation for the last-minute requests from your boss.

But the point is, prioritization works. So, give it a whirl-we've even created a template you can use to try it out! Just download, print a few copies, and spend the rest of your days this week focusing on the few things that matter most. We think you'll be surprised by how much you actually get done.

Download the 1-3-5 Guide Now

Prefer an online version? Check out My 1-3-5 List, inspired by our rule and created by Daniel Pepin.

This article was originally published on The Daily Muse. For more on getting everything done in a day, check out: