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The rule of THREE

Today I listened to a really good podcast from Pat Flynn, where Pat interviews Ramit Sethi – its podcast 092, by the way. It got me thinking about how I could share an idea with you, that has been really helpful to me in getting through the work that matter to me, and do this in a way that allows you to put it into action.

I often find myself with too much to do and fearing that I will either not get it done or not to the standard that I wish it to be done to. As a project manager and business owner, I cannot afford to allow one area to languish because I am immersed in another. So, I have come up with what I call “The rule of THREE” and it goes as follows.

My Day

I break each day down into three main objective area that I want to establish my top priorities (also generally three) for. These are:

  • Development – here I mean my own and my team’s development. This includes but is not limited to reading, research, listening and moving – primarily cognitive and physical activity.
  • Creation – these are the activities that need to be completed to create the outcomes of projects, or the writing of books and blog posts or hosting a workshop.
  • Connecting – this refers to connecting with my team, developing and nurturing my personal and business network, email and social networks (an area I am totally new to and learning) and friends and family.

With these three areas, I then batch or chunk my activities into three time blocks within my daily schedule – for example, my day might look like this:

  • 06:30-10:30 – Development
  • 11:00 – 15:00 – Creation
  • 15:30 – 20:30 – Connecting

This is my preferred sequence that I follow when I am in total control of the sequence of activities.

The divisions – development, creation and connecting

Next I take each of the elements and I develop my plan for each. There is a rough outline, but the specifics and priorities vary. Currently I am writing a book, developing my business, learning to be more active online and developing my understanding of social networks. This means that a lot of my activities are focused in these area, so my day looks as follows (Sunday, May5, 2014):


  1. I read for 30 minutes – Focus by Malcolm Gladwell.
  2. I listen to 1 podcast per day, and  I commit to implementing one actionable item from that podcast the same day – this post is as a result of the podcast I listened to above.
  3. I ran 9 km.
  4. ecourse on scrivener, a software package that I use for writing and publishing books.


  1. I wrote this blog
  2. I wrote the final 6 chapters of “Recovering Troubled Projects” – this completes the first draft of my book – that I will celebrate.


  1. Connecting with 10 people from my network through email.
  2. Posted on twitter and LinkedIn.
  3. Spent face to face time with my wife.

All in all, a day that makes me pretty happy with progress for a Sunday.

I love this structure as it allows me to immerse myself at different stages of the day into activities which challenge and excite me in highly different  ways, but all of which requires to be focused and present to produce my best – this structure allows me to do that and still get everything done. For example, the development of part of the day has me learning and concentrating on new areas to me, while the creation is focused on producing – with the great benefit that I can put some of my learnings directly into action.

What have you learned from this and is there one thing that you can put into action today and benefit from – I hope so and would love to hear from you – comments or get me on twitter @getprojectsdone.



Recovering Troubled Projects

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  1. Thanks a lot for a good read William. Again-simple, but needs to be remind to oneself regularly.

    I find my love to learn more & more might become and excuse not to take (create) action and also seen negative results of not connecting with close ones even if you are immersed in a important project.

    Right balance is the key.