How the ‘Rule of 3′ Can Simplify Your Daily Life

 We look for tips, tricks and tools to settle our brain. This simple rule may just be the key.

I have to be honest with you, I am not religious, and I don’t believe in astrology or numerology. But I do look for signals or patterns in this world that can be utilized to bring comfort to the chaos all around me. Out of these signals or patterns I wish to form habits to make me more successful.

Business building is hard and I look for tools or tricks to bring a little order to my day.

For years, I have used a “rule of three” to help simplify the complex and stimulate me to focus better.

The number three shows up in many areas:

  • It represents time as in:
    • Birth – Life – Death
    • Beginning – Middle – End
    • Past – Present – Future
  • Primary Colors – Red, Yellow, Blue
  • Many consider these mystical concepts:
    • Harmony – Wisdom – Understanding
    • The Triangle (3 points and 3 lines)
    • Body, Soul, Spirit
    • Genies give 3 wishes
    • Dorothy clicks her heels 3 times.
  • Sagittarius lucky number is 3 (I don’t believe but I am a Sag)

I have used the rule of three in a number of areas. First and foremost, I limit the number of projects I can lead to no more than three. More than that and I don’t do any of them well. To be clear, I am referring to the activities/projects that I have to lead. As an executive, there are projects I lead and those that I can react to. This rule helps me prioritize my proactive brain activities. I liken this to the difference between an author and an editor. The editor reacts to the words/pages brought to them.

I also use the rule of three to create my pitches or presentations. Typically I will draft an outline of the points I want to share. I always think about the three things I want my target to take away. More than three and they all get watered down. I then find no more than three facts or support items for those three major themes. By the end of the brainstorm, I have a very detailed but simple outline of what I want to deliver.

Lastly, I attempt to create a three item To-Do list every day. Sometimes I put too many on the list and then take them away or write them on the back side of the sheet of paper so they are captured but not front of mind.

If your day is confusing or out of control, try to invoke a rule of three to settle your brain and bring some focus to your activities.

This article first appeared in INC.COM – find more of my articles there.

Speaker, investor, mentor, startup founder. One of 3 or 4 Co-Founders of MapQuest (sold to AOL for $1.2B). Managing Director of $25M Venture Fund in late 90's. CEO, COO or President of various companies ranging from $200k to $20M in size. One of two Managing Directors of The Startup Factory (35 investments across 7 cohorts), founder and MC of the Big Top Reverse Job Fair and national writer and speaker waxing poetic around startups and startup communities. Currently EIR @ Techstars with Brad Feld ~ Startup Communities, to help community leaders around the world grow their startup community.

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