The number three is wearing a five-pointed crown. The crown is yellow with five black star sapphire gemstones on it. The number three is a dark blue colour with black outlines.

(Part 2) Three is the Magic Number: The Rule of Three

Three is the Magic Number is a three part micro series focused on goal setting for the New Year (and beyond).

Three is a fine number. 

My favourite, actually. One reason #My3Words resonated.

It’s perfect for goal setting and task management, too.

I’ll explain… 

We’re attracted to patterns. The brain loves them. 

You see them every day. In art and photography, language and storytelling. In nature. Patterns are everywhere.   

Patterns help you understand the world. They organize it.

Patterns create connections, provide context. Give you a sense of control. 

And pattern recognition begins with three – the magic number.

Back to goal setting and task management.

You have a long to-do list in front of you. Some items are important, some aren’t. A few fall in the middle. 

How many are crossed off by day’s end? 

More than three? How many were important and how many weren’t?

Did those lesser tasks take time away from something more pressing?

“Most people overestimate what they can do in a day, and underestimate what they can do in a month. We overestimate what we can do in a year, and underestimate what we can accomplish in a decade.”

Matthew Kelly, The Long View

Don’t spread yourself thin. Less is more. Less is focused.

Take a lengthy to-do list, whittle it to the three most important tasks, and cross each one off by EOD. 

That’s far more fulfilling than ending the day with an incomplete list. 

As someone working from home full time, I assure you, this does wonders for your productivity and confidence. 

It makes things a little more manageable. And often adds time back to your day. 

So let’s try using the rule of three to set our 2023 goals.

  • 3 primary goals (year)
  • 3 objectives (quarterly)
  • 3 milestones (monthly)

First, create your wishlist of goals. Write down anything that comes to mind – fitness goals, career goals, etc… 

Second, sort your goals into categories and select the top three from each. 

Third, create a roadmap to help you stay on track to achieving them (weekly, monthly, and quarterly planning works for me). Experiment to find what’s best for you. 

Here’s an example:

Goal: Take control over my financial future by the end of 2023 
1. Gain an intermediate grasp of investing & wealth management 2. Create a low-risk investment portfolio3. Save a total
of $XXXX 
Quarter 1 ObjectivesEstablish working knowledge of finance & investingRecord the beginning of my personal journey to financial freedom Save $XXX
Month 1 MilestonesSpeak with a financial advisorSet annual savings goal / monthly budgetSave $XXX
Month 2 MilestonesConsume 2–4 pieces of content RE finance & investingWrite 1–2 micro pieces about what I’ve learnedSave $XXX
Month 3 MilestonesConsume 2–4 pieces of content RE finance & investingWrite 1–2 micro pieces about what I’ve learnedSave $XXX
Review first quarter progress; note challenges & highlight successes. Optimize where necessary. 

Oh yah… 

Don’t forget to track and reflect on your progress. And to remain flexible. If something isn’t working, change tactics.

I reflect by journaling (first thing in the morning, right before bed). I make note of daily wins and opportunities, progress and where to make improvements. 

I use a habit tracker to help form and break habits

And I like the idea of a fortnightly check-in with my partner to discuss our united goals. Such as a summer vacation or purchasing a house. 

Again, experiment to find what suits you.

Maybe the key is to embrace the rule of three.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of Three is the Magic Number.

*feature image by Andrea Longarini (my partner in life)

There are three pencils, each with a broken tip.

2 thoughts on “(Part 2) Three is the Magic Number: The Rule of Three

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