Goal Setting How-To: Transform Your To-Do List with the 3-3-3 Rule

By Victor Macias,

Published on May 12, 2023   —   2 min read

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM / Unsplash

When I started my business, I was obsessed with goal setting. I'd have goals for everything: My life, the year, the month. I'd brain-dump everything I wanted to achieve and narrow it to about 10-15 things, then dive in. In hindsight, I was dealing with major FOMO. I'd get really excited in the beginning. I'd feel like I was crushing and making a lot of progress, but after a few weeks, I'd get overwhelmed and lose focus. Trying to do everything meant I ended up doing nothing. There was just too much on my plate.

I knew I had to take a different approach. I noticed a trend in what the productivity pros were doing at the time. Many of them focus on just 1-3 things per day. For example., Tim Ferriss, uses a postcard he tucks into his pack pocket to limit his to-do list. Leo Babauta of Zen Habits picks his top 3 tasks (he called them MITs - Most Important Tasks). I wondered, what if I did that, but on a macro scale? I call it the 3-3-3 rule. It's how I redefined my approach to goal setting and it's how I plan my quarter, week, and day for maximum output.

The 3-3-3 Rule (Your Goal Setting How-To Guide)

  • Quarterly - Every Quarter, I block some time to plan. I go through my notes, calendar, and someday/maybe list and pick 3 outcomes that would change everything in my life.
  • Weekly - Every week, I look at my Quarterly and choose 3 key things I can get done that will move me closest to my quarterly outcomes.
  • Daily - Every day, I choose 3 tasks that will help me reach my weekly outcomes.

And that's it! My days link to my weeks, my weeks link to my quarter and I get my most impactful stuff done without the stress and overwhelm.

The Benefits of The 3-3-3 Goal Setting Method

  • It increases effectiveness - By limiting your outcomes, you're forced to prioritize and choose what really matters to you. This increases focus and helps overcome procrastination.
  • It creates space for life to happen - By reducing tasks to the top 3, you're able to win the day early. This adds flexibility in your day for unexpected interruptions or just fun, relaxing time. It also allows you to say YES to more in your life.
  • It allows for guilt-free fun - Once you've accomplished your top 3 tasks for the day, you've won. You can feel confident that your weekly outcomes will forward and ultimately your quarterly outcomes too. The rest of your day is free for you to do whatever you want. The guilt and "should's" in your day diminish allowing you to be present and enjoy relaxing. (Related: Guilt-free play fuels quality work)

And that's the 3-3-3 rule. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you. I promise it's a game-changer. I will simplify your life while allowing you to focus on what's most important. Plus, you'll enjoy more guilt-free fun. Let me know how it goes.

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