Get Started With The 1-3-5 Rule

The To-Do list, a simple tool to help you get organized, yet many folks struggle with recording and completing tasks on their list. Items are placed on the list in no particular order, and depending on the length of your list, sometimes we add duplicates.

To-do lists also come in various forms, some folks like paper and pen, whereas others like a more modern touch using their computer or mobile device. When one fails us, we think about switching mediums, I’ve gone from paper to electronic, back to paper and back to electronic. At the same time, thinking that it’s not me, it’s the medium.

To-do lists need structure and priority

Throwing items on a list is one thing, but not prioritizing items is another and this is where I think the whole system breaks down. I think I’ve found a system that can help reboot your to-do list and add new life to your system. It’s a method I’ve been using and have had some good success with, it’s called the 1-3-5 rule.

The 1-3-5 rule is portable and can be used either with pen and paper or electronic. Allow me to explain the method and fill you in on how I use it, it’s super simple.

Each day, write down one big task, three medium tasks and five small tasks and keep these nine items in focus for the day.

Once you have your list, tackle it from the top and work your way down – no shortcuts. At the end of the day, move any of those items to your list for the next day. You should compile this list for the next day at the end of your workday or later in the evening. I prefer to do it at the end of the workday.

I started this process with paper and pen – which was effective, but I quickly transitioned to using Todoist. I want to clarify it that Todoist is the tool I use to implement the 1-3-5 rule. The great thing about using Todoist is that it’s synced on all my mobile and electronic devices, it’s never unreachable.

One key feature I like is adding the priority to each task, as you can see in the screenshot, I use P1 red for my one big task, I use orange for P2 or the three medium tasks and finally, I use yellow for the P3 or five small tasks. Using Todoist is a great way to visualize and also sort depending on the priority.

That’s it, a simple method for prioritizing and getting more done.

Why not give it a try next week and let me know how it works for you. Do you have a different method for managing your to-do list, let me know on Twitter, and thanks for reading!