When I was a young lieutenant in the US Air Force, I knew nothing about a 1 3 5 rule. I wanted to do well and get promoted. I worked hard, and I was driven, but it was hard to be productive at work.
I had so much going on, I needed a way to organize my day to be as productive as possible. I was a prime example of someone who could benefit by following the 1-3-5 Rule.
If you face the same challenge as I did, you may benefit too.
The 1-3-5 Rule is choosing one significant task, three medium tasks, and five small jobs to do in a day.
This technique covers major, medium, and small tasks. It allows you to make progress on meaningful projects, repeating work, and regular commitments.
This Rule is uncomplicated, and it’s simple to apply. These features make it useful because you have a consistent planning method that doesn’t drain your time. Here’s how to do it.
How to Use the 1 3 5 Rule.
List all your jobs for the week.
At the end of each week, make a list of things you need to get done for the next week. Include your major projects, other tasks requiring medium effort, and small jobs you must do.
Be sure to make it a list of actions and steps you do to complete the job. Break the more extensive projects into manageable steps.
When you’re making your task list, just let everything flow out. Worry about sorting things out later. Doing this brain flush exercise every week helps you clear out your mind. Then you can concentrate better on prioritizing your list among the primary, intermediate, and smaller jobs.
In general, a primary job is an essential one that takes more than a few hours to complete. It may be spread over several days, so you need to organize the work in manageable chunks.
Intermediate tasks may be just as vital but take about 1-2 hours, and smaller jobs might take less than an hour.
After you finish your weekly list:
- Classify tasks into significant, moderate, and shorter jobs.
- Keep separate lists for your daily and weekly items.
- Write down any new things that come up to reference when you make your list for next week.
- You should delegate or outsource work that someone else can do better.
- When you begin working for the day, it’s best to concentrate on your primary task in the first 90 minutes of the day.
Some ideas to help you execute this step:
- Don’t obsess about grouping tasks perfectly. It’s a time-waster. When in doubt, rely on your instincts.
- Be mindful and make notes on similar work you’re doing and how long it usually takes you. Awareness will help you improve at planning the time and effort it takes you to do things.
- Be critical of small tasks on your list and make sure you are the one who ought to be doing them. Try to delegate tasks when you can.
Compose your daily to-do list.
Next, you can plan your first day the night before or first thing in the morning. Select a primary task, three moderate ones, and five small ones to do for the day. Here is a simple online tool for composing your list.
Make a list of the work for the day and set aside the weekly list. After you finish your day, you can reference your weekly list to plan the next day. When you finish work, move any items left undone to your list for the next day.
When I was an officer in the Air Force, I learned to clear off my desk and spend the last 10 – 15 minutes of work planning my next day. I would leave work with only my to-do list sitting on my desk for the following day.
It’s incredible what peace of mind I felt when I went home after work because I already decided what to do the next day. Then, when I arrived at work in the morning, my list was there ready to go.
The Final Word On Using the 1-3-5 Rule and Being Productive
Stick to the plan and you’ll be more productive. At the same time, here are some fundamental concepts that will help to be better at planning and organizing:
You can find details of how to accomplish these concepts in this planning and organizing article.
I hope this article was useful.
Best wishes in your efforts to be super productive and successful.