You've heard about these, no? The idea is you prioritize three things, and that's it. You make a big list:
3 big goals
3 things for the year
3 things for the month
3 things for the week
3 things for the day
I have my doubts. Maybe I'm totally wrong. No doubt I will never be a great Shakespearean, biker, birder, or violinist. (See, four things! And not even the most important.)
Or the people who do this successfully have someone else in there life who handles all the other things?
Let's imagine, here's my lists.
Big goals: being a kind and responsible person, professional success, adventure
3 things for the year: teaching at the Abbey, publish an article, [not public]
3 things for the month: study Victorian lit, prep courses for the Abbey, [not public]
3 things for the week: read Mill on the Floss, study Victorian lit, [not public]
3 things for the day: read Mill on the Floss (pages), power-wash deck (part), practice
But here's the problems. First, the being kind and responsible seems huge, and important, but not something that you say for a month, well, this is the thing I'll do to be kind and responsible. Instead, being kind and responsible probably means I need to say "yes" when a friend needs help (moving, for example).
There's a shadow list, too. Here's the real list, with the shadow list in bold:
3 things for the year: teaching at the Abbey, publish an article, [not public], violin (vibrato, Book 4), time with friends, adventure (birding, etc), prep/teach new senior seminar in spring
3 things for the month: study Victorian lit, prep courses for the Abbey, [not public], pass Book 3 test on violin, [not public], garden, bike, kayak (ie. be outside!), eat meals, do laundry, spend time with friends, help friend move, work on paper
3 things for the week: read Mill on the Floss, study Victorian lit, [not public], practice Book 3 stuff a lot (solidify memorization of 3 pieces), [not public], power-wash deck and north side of house, take down wild grape vines off trees in the back of the yard
3 things for the day: read Mill on the Floss (pages), power-wash deck (part), practice, eat, do laundry, garden stuff, grocery shopping.
I'm probably forgetting some things. But you see the difficulty. One of the [not public] things is something that's important to a friend. It's important to me because of my friend. It will take some serious time. But it doesn't achieve the sorts of things most people who use these three priorities put on their lists, I don't think. (And it does contribute to the overall being kind and responsible.)
Laundry, for example. It doesn't take lots of time, but it's necessary to keep from being dirty and really stinky, so for basic social function. Someone has to do it, no? And that someone is me.
Grocery shopping takes more time, but again, unless I'm going to call for take out pizza every day (not much else is delivered around here, I don't think), I need to go shopping.
I've spent a ton of time this month practicing the violin, trying to pass my Book 3 test before Strings leaves town for a month, since I'll be gone before she returns. When I go, I'll be away from the violin for at least 10 days, maybe more. I'm worried that if I don't pass the Book 3 test (which involves playing three pieces from memory to my teacher's approval given my level), then the time away will mean I have to rememorize the pieces again. (I should have access to a violin at the Abbey or help finding a student violin to rent. And then Strings has offered to teach me via skype if we can work out the timing.)
I think I've accepted that I'm too scattered to be really successful in some peoples' terms of success. I'll never be a famous/great Shakespearean, never be a pro-biker, never be a really good birder.
Do people really use the rule of threes in a happy and serious way?
The only way I've found the rule of three and similar approaches useful is for discrete parts of my life - I can set a top three priorities for this week's writing time, for example, or choose which three craft projects I want to focus on this year. But it doesn't work for the whole of life, I find, life is too complicated... And for things like teaching, which take up a lot of time but where the big and medium stuff is out of my control or fixed for the semester by the syllabus, I don't have goals for most of the time, just to-do lists, which can be prioritised but don't feel like the same thing at all.ReplyDelete
I guess the idea is that it's like that "put the pebbles and gravel and sand in a jar" analogy that was around at new year? You have to pick the pebbles, the big stuff, first, or the medium and little stuff take up all the room. But any kind of rigid system doesn't match the chaotic nature of life perfectly - and I like it that way, mostly.