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the list of three

the list of three

If I were honest with myself, my daily to-do list would be impossibly long. There are so many things I'd like to accomplish in a day. I oftetimes look around my house and see hours upon hours of jobs that need to be tackled, projects I'd like to attempt, corners that need to be cleaned, drawers that need to be cleaned out.

The reality is, I don't have time for everything. I don't get up with the sun (much to my husband's dismay). And on most days, I've got these four little people who keep following me around the house demanding things of me.

So I've learned that it's all about priorities. And figuring out what's really important.

And I've learned that I need to keep my to-do list extremely short. Because it will fill itself up on its own, even if I haven't written everything down.

And so each day I confine my to-do list to three. Usually, these are the three tasks that are really nagging on me. The things I see that give me the "Ugh. I need to deal with this." feeling. An email. A pile of laundry. A bill. An errand. A room that I'd be embarrassed for anyone outside of my immediate family to enter.

Three things? I can handle that.

These three things that are nagging me while I do all the other things? Getting those three accomplished and off my list, that feels really, really good for this mama. That I can handle.

the list of three

If I were honest with myself, my daily to-do list would be impossibly long. There are so many things I'd like to accomplish in a day. I oftetimes look around my house and see hours upon hours of jobs that need to be tackled, projects I'd like to attempt, corners that need to be cleaned, drawers that need to be cleaned out.

The reality is, I don't have time for everything. I don't get up with the sun (much to my husband's dismay). And on most days, I've got these four little people who keep following me around the house demanding things of me.

So I've learned that it's all about priorities. And figuring out what's really important.

And I've learned that I need to keep my to-do list extremely short. Because it will fill itself up on its own, even if I haven't written everything down.

And so each day I confine my to-do list to three. Usually, these are the three tasks that are really nagging on me. The things I see that give me the "Ugh. I need to deal with this." feeling. An email. A pile of laundry. A bill. An errand. A room that I'd be embarrassed for anyone outside of my immediate family to enter.

Three things? I can handle that.

These three things that are nagging me while I do all the other things? Getting those three accomplished and off my list, that feels really, really good for this mama. That I can handle.

29 comments on “the list of three”

  1. I once wrote down my ideal daily to do list, then I added a ideal amount of time it would take. My day would need to be 36 hours. And my 8 hour workday was not even on the list!

    My priorities are a bit clearer now and the I’ve let go of the guilt of not having enough time. Because, my ideal is not realistic! It was good to see it all out on paper… and in my journal so I can flip back to it for a reality check.

    Three I could handle!!

  2. I do something similar, but it’s a weekly to do list. And it usually has about 10-15 things on it. Some of them are simple and “must dos” like grocery shopping. But then there’s the things like what you mention, cleaning out the guest room closet, re-papering the kitchen cabinets, etc. By the way both of those things are on my to-do list and have yet to be tackled.

    But oh well. 🙂 Someday.

  3. Great idea! My head is always racing with all the “to dos” that seem to never get done. With only three to tackle, it gives you a feeling of accomplishment, rather than the disappointment of “darn, I only did 12 of the 57 things on the list.”

  4. oh my goodness, I think you just cured me of my listaphobia. I used to love them, but then my lists got longer and longer and less and less doable and produced nothing but guilt. List of three, you are my new love.

  5. i just had this realization the other night. it was hard to accept at first and then it dawned on me that it could give me a release from the chiding “look what you haven’t done today” voice that pounds through my head at midnight.

  6. you know what i do? i write things i DID get done under my (however short) to do list and then cross them out, no matter what small a thing it was. just because i love seeing a crossed out to do list…

  7. Agreed. I can remember a day pre-kids where my to-do list would be pages long…and…I’d actually get it all done. But these days I can’t even find a to do list, nonetheless write one down. And if and when I do occasionally get to jotting some things down it gets out of hand so fast that it makes me feel overwhelmed. Three things is totally where I’m at.

  8. I’m going to give this a try, my list has been miles long lately and energy has been lacking, this sounds like the perfect solution!

  9. ha, I can totally relate!! I plan impossibly hard to accomplish things on my list and am then mad that I didnt get it all done. Im lucky if I get the dishwasher loaded/unloaded in one day.. Little children take up a lot of time if your raising them right. I constantly tell my mother, who comes to visit with a scowl at the mess/dirt, that i would rather take my kids for a hike or play or paint, than clean the kitchen or bathroom again! (granted my kids are 3.5 an 7 months and Im sure when they are in school full time, my house will be spotless, but for now, I will take the mess over losing this precious tie with my littles. Love the idea of having a very short list, at least it feels like an accomplishment, thanks for the idea!

  10. I too am a list momma who has learned this magic rule of three. It is manageable and really feels incredibly satisfying to cross them each off.

  11. As if I had any doubts, I’ve now decided you’re brilliant (once and for all).

    Also? Were my handwriting half as neat? I think I might be satisfied with three.

  12. I do the same. 3 things on a list per day – which of course doesn’t mean that I only do 3 things, goodness knows that’s not true.

    PS I’m a lurker…but you are one of my very favorite blogs. Thought I’d come out of hiding. *hi*

  13. I know this is a late reply to your article but as I read it just now, I too, have to agree and say that this is just what I need in all the days I am struggling to get ALL the things done and end up being disappointed that I did not get them all done. God bless you!!!

  14. Ha. I was just on YOUR blog. 🙂 Congrats on the Pinterest top 10! Awesome. Feel free to email me re: fed media if you need to! So glad we connected today!

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