2X3 Things: Proactively Simplify
"Out of clutter, find simplicity" - Albert Einstein
I have explored multiple techniques and approaches to help me on my simplification journey.
I use several digital tools to collect activities and thoughts . To dos. Task lists. List of ideas. Goal lists. Some individuals, some shared, some short term, some long range. I like lists and I like writing down ideas and things I want to achieve. It helps me declutter my mind and deliberately move those things and ideas which are in the background without loosing them. I use Evernote to collect thoughts, projects and discussion topics for the people of my life, family, friends and work colleagues. Lots of Apps help me keep those records across different dimensions of my life which I have chosen to compartmentalise. Beyond Evernote, OneNote, and Google Keep, which I synchronise across my devices. I have tried many other tools and always like trying new things, but keep going back to those three. I share a Google Keep shopping list with my husband. I occasionally use Evernote to share meeting agendas and quick notes/action points with teams are work. I have been recording those notes since 2012 and I have today 6080 notes in my archive.My notes are not organised but search is my retrieval magic wand.
I spend a few minutes everyday defining or confirming the 3 things I want to accomplish that specific day in my personal life and the 3 things I want to get done in my professional life; just to be clear, this excludes activities which are already part of my daily habits as well as recurring dailies and calendar schedules. Those are things or "deliverables" that matter.
Why 2X3? Because it feels right, achievable, and simple to remember. And because it is MY choice. I am sure 2 or 4 would work equally for others…this just how I plan and proactively simplify, personally.
So practically how does that works for me? I ensure that I am clear on those 2x3 either the previous evening or before I go to work early morning , and I write those 6 things at the top of a rolling note I update every day. This usually takes less than a couple of minutes. It is pretty basic. Here is what it looks like just to take a few recent examples of random days:
1.Create outline quarterly Newsletter
2.Walk around and talk to Customer Service team, congratulate team on NPS results
3.Prepare onboarding & integration of new Product Director
1.Practice Intermittent fasting
2.Carve out some time to help Alice (my daughter) prepare mocks
3.Organise British Heart Foundation bag it drop it
1.Write brief for pricing architecture projects and send to the 2 consulting firms pre-selected
2.Carve out one hour to discuss with mentoree (take her for coffee)
3.Create top level OKR (Objective and Key Results) framework for next quarter for initial discussion with my senior team
1.Walk to the office (8 km walk, I try to do that once a week)
2.Call and chat with both parents
3.Create list of performing art events to propose to friends to attend together next Theatre season
I tick the things I have accomplished at the end of the day. It feels good and takes less then a minute. I do not accomplish every things, always. I adjust on the fly sometimes. I reset. I reshuffle. But overall this is, for me, a simple way to focus on daily goals and clarify and simplify my life.
Most days, I feel relaxed and excited about my day, even if it is packed and intense. I know there are 2X3 things I want to accomplish, personally and professionally, and I have decided those are the ones which matter.