My Version of the Pick 3 Daily Routine for Prioritization

A week ago, I heard Randi Zuckerberg talk about her Pick Three book’s concept on a podcast with Cal Fussman, in a wonderful episode about many more important issues. The Pick Three concept was that for each day, you identify three priorities to focus on a little more than other things to be able to do those three things well. I loved the idea, enough that I have decided to incorporate it into my life for at least 2019! However, I did not go buy the book (no offense intended to Randi), because as I researched more about the book and method, I thought I could create my own to suit my life and attitudes towards how to do this. So here is what I came up with for my Pick 3 system, with number to differentiate from Randi’s, in no particular order of presentation:

  1. Leave out “routines” unless special efforts beyond the norm were required. If something were truly a routine in your life, you’re supposed to do it. Unless you didn’t care for it, then you should try to do it well by default. No special effort should be required to do it well. However, every now and then, you may slack, or a more important version of it may come along. Examples could be special deadlines or meetings at work, harder workout, falling behind on sleep, etc. So unless a routine activity needed special attention in some way, it won’t appear on my Pick 3.
  2. Work gets its own Pick 3. Considering work dominates most of my days as a full-time job I care to do well in all the time, and I don’t have family to take care of, disease or condition to control, etc., work could legitimately claim about 200 spots on my life’s Pick 3. To avoid this as an automatic filler to many Pick 3 slots, and to use the Pick 3 system effectively at work, I will have a Pick 3 system installed for work daily rather than just inconsistently doing it in my mind up to now. Only when something extra important, or extra time and effort beyond the norm is required, will work appear in my life’s Pick 3. It’s a “routine” otherwise, though I consider my job anything but “routine”. We’ll have to see how often work gets into my life’s Pick 3 over the course of this first year trial, which I am recording. See point 6.
  3. My Life’s Pick 3 is almost like a “free time” Pick 3. With work getting its own Pick 3 and considered a routine, generally, my life’s Pick 3 essentially comes down to what I will do with my “free” time. I do have responsibilities and commitments so it’s not all “free” time, but I made most of those commitments so it was my choice to do them with my “free” time originally.
  4. Planning ahead is encouraged. I am a planner, and we all have important events in our lives we know of ahead of time where we have to focus, and/or be as ready for as we can. It’s not just get up and realize something big today has to be on the Pick 3 list! Besides, doing things daily keeps you from seeing the big picture in your life. Planning will let you see your week, or longer, ahead of time, and let you put in reminders of important priorities you know will be coming.
  5. Substitution is allowed. I could understand how this could seem like a bit of a cop out. However, in addition to doing something well, I’m also trying to make good use of my time. Things change in life, and I have lots of flexibility considering my Pick 3 system is generally for what I do with my “free” time that is mostly hobby time. I don’t have kids, family, a lover, or many super important things to neglect in substituting daily Pick 3 priorities, in other words. Substitution would likely be one hobby for another, with the biggest consequences likely being neglecting sleep for hobby pursuit, if my recent past were any indication. Sleep is a priority in 2019, though, so it’s not all “routine”. So as long as I can genuinely substitute something with a serious dedicated effort towards something else, it’s all good. In fact, I substituted a 25-30k long run New Year’s day with “reading without taking notes” that is a goal for me in 2019. There was a snow/sleet storm outside all day and it’d have been crazy to do that run for the sake of 1/3 of a daily Pick 3! I’ve got enough discipline not to let myself off easy on these things.
  6. Record the Pick 3 and performance to analyze later. Do this to see trends and patterns. Do it in whatever way is best to assist you in maintaining it. For me, that is digitally in a Google Sheets file. Dates down one column. Three other column is a Pick each. There is a column for # substitutions, and a column for # missed to see how often I substitute, and how often I don’t get all three done. I’m not keen on recording what I missed or substituted. I do it often enough in procrastinating something and I will know. I won’t need a spreadsheet to tell me! 🙂
  7. Make things routine to take it off the list of Options for Pick 3. As a side impact of this Pick 3 system, I hope to turn some things that will appear regularly on my Pick 3 list, like practicing piano, into routines that I won’t have to devote special focus on doing often. The best way to get something done that challenge you on a regular basis is to turn it into a habit, rather than a special effort or “chore” many times out because those weigh on you. Not everything that’s good for you, or that you’ll ultimately enjoy the rewards of later, is a pleasure each time out!

If things change later on as I use this system and see ways to tweak it, I’ll come back here to update the post.

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