What 3 Things?

AdvisorBlast – Quick Tips to Accelerate Your Practice
In this issue: Build your “done” list.


Some days there is just too much to do: your “to do” list is already a page long, and emails from clients and requests from colleagues keep pouring in! The stress about what to tackle first or inefficiency caused by trying to do 7 things at once can be overwhelming, resulting in very little actually getting moved off that ever-growing “to do” list to a “done” list.

First, breathe. Then decide: what 3 things will I absolutely, positively get done today?

OK, I hear some of your indignant laughs. “Three things?” you’re thinking, “I have to do at least 20, or I’m sunk!”

We can run around trying to get 20 things done (usually spending lots of energy and achieving very few results), or we can face reality: unless your tasks are extremely small or simple, you simply cannot complete 20 projects in one day. There is not enough time, and you don’t have enough energy.

So, what to do? The day will pass, regardless of how many things there are on your list, so why not make the most of the time you have AND keep your sanity. Pick 3 things that you will absolutely, positively get completed today. Then do them, one at a time, until they are finished. Then repeat the process tomorrow and the next day and the next day.

I learned this technique while I was training for the Olympics, and it works just as well in business. I had a lot of things to address just in my physical training (not to mention mental preparation and running other areas of my life):  building muscle strength in arms, legs and core; focusing on aerobic conditioning; increasing speed by doing anaerobic sprints; repeating starts and finishes; emphasizing flexibility; and on and on. I simply couldn’t do everything required in one day, but my performance date was set, and everything had to get done if I was going to be ready to compete with the best in the world.

So, I had one specific focus at each of my three daily workouts. On a particular day, the morning pool session might focus on longer conditioning training, while the afternoon workout focused on pace-setting sets. The midday weight workout took both pool sessions into account and might focus on core strength training. The next day would bring a focus on different elements. Over time, everything got addressed, excellently and comprehensively. I didn’t have to worry that something wasn’t getting adequate attention; I might not get to it one day, but I knew it would be covered in the coming days.

You will face temptations to stray into other areas, away from your top 3 priorities for the day. When I was swimming, if I was feeling particularly good one day, I could be tempted to watch the clock and start sprinting through some of the workout, even though the session’s objective was a long, slow, aerobic workout. But giving into the temptation would be detrimental to our long-term plan, so sometimes I simply had to force myself to stick to the program and complete the workout correctly and thoroughly because it was what needed to be done that day (even though I felt like doing something else.)

Accept that you can’t be doing everything every day. But by having 3 main objectives, you can be certain the most important things will get donethat day.Other demands simply must wait. Being absolutely committed to finishing your 3 things is a great motivator and keeps you on-track. Knowing that diverting your energy to unplanned new activities will require you to put in extra “make-up” time later that day to get the 3 originally planned day’s requirements done can be a powerful deterrent to distractions.

A long “to do” list might make you feel needed or important, but your success will be measured by what you can move to your “done” list. What 3 activities will you make your priority today and finish?

Wishing you a long “done” list,

Copyright Paul Kingsman 2013

As a motivational speaker and executive coach, Paul Kingsman helps financial services professionals successfully grow their businesses by taking practical daily steps to achieve outstanding long-term results. Combining his experiences as an Olympic medalist and his background as an advisor, Paul understands how to stay focused over the long haul, as well as the unique business challenges faced by advisors. Through his professional speaking and executive coaching he equips them to overcome distractions so they can get the money they need, the clients they want, and the time to do what they love.

To find out more about how Paul can equip you or your team to achieve outstanding results, visit paulkingsman.com/coaching or email him at Paul@PaulKingsman.com

One Response to “What 3 Things?”

  • […] David Allen’s Getting Things Done is a great book for helping you begin to de-clutter and thereby de-stress. Once things are in their right place and you know you will follow up, you can fully focus on the immediate task at hand, un-distracted by items that need your attention, but not RIGHT NOW. I shared about how I focused on very specific activities at specific times when I was training for the Olympics in a newsletter earlier this year. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *