A lot of us start our days with a laundry list of things to do. It’s not uncommon for people to have 10, 20, or even more items on their to-do list. Where do you even start? Even if you accomplish five or six things, it’s easy to feel like a failure at the end of the day because of all the things that didn’t get done. It’s a recipe for exhaustion.
How do you stop the chronic overwork and banish the overwhelm? Narrow your task list. That’s why I recommend starting with one thing: establishing a Daily Big 3.
Your Daily Big 3 are the top three outcomes you need to accomplish for the day to make progress on your weekly and long-term goals and projects. If you lose sight of them, your day will be swamped by things that seem urgent to someone else but not necessarily important to you. You’ll never get anything done that way.
Listing out only three tasks for an entire workday may seem like a cop-out, but it requires more effort and discipline to look at the twelve things you could do and zero in on the three things that really matter. With this newfound clarity on what is and isn’t the priority, your days will no longer feel held captive by an unreasonably long list of tasks.
Narrowing your focus doesn’t just boost your sense of progress—it also fuels better results. When you have a list of two dozen tasks, you might stay busy all day, but that doesn’t mean the important work is getting done or that you were necessarily productive. In contrast, completing three high-leverage tasks every day has a monumental impact. Because when you focus on less, you accomplish more by directing your energy toward what truly deserves your attention. It means you’re actively moving the most important things along.
You can keep your Daily Big 3 on a sticky note, in a notebook, or on the Day Pages of the Full Focus Planner. Wherever you keep your Daily Big 3, let yourself focus only on what really deserves priority and pushes your goals forward.
When you do this every day, you’ll feel a marked sense of control. Work will no longer be overwhelming, but peaceful. Instead of ending your day feeling defeated, you’ll feel like you won the day.
What can you eliminate or delegate from your task list so you can focus on your daily top three priorities?