I’ve been following the Full Focus Planner 3x3 system for setting quarterly, weekly and daily tasks for over 18 months. Each week you choose the three most important tasks to complete for the week. Then, daily, you set the three most important tasks of that day. They are called your Big 3. It’s a beneficial system, and I have become much more productive since I have been using the planner and this system.
It’s a great system, and I highly recommend trying it. However, I do sometimes struggle to identify and write actionable tasks that can be completed. It can be hard to choose which of all the available tasks are the most important for that day. It’s easy to let the urgent leak in and displace the important tasks.
In their book, Make Time, John Zeratsky and Jake Knapp describe a four-step process for changing your defaults and making time for doing what matters. The first step is called Highlight. It’s a brilliantly simple concept. Pick one thing that you want to get done; something that when you look back on your day, you would consider it the Highlight of your day.
And just like that, I knew that this was what I had been missing. It’s incredible when you find exactly the right word for something, it can trigger a cascade of clarity. The days when my big 3 was easiest to set was because I was picking my highlight.
The days when it was harder, more things were competing for my attention, nothing was particularly awe-inspiring or that I really wanted to do, I’d try and shoehorn several jobs into a single somewhat nebulous task.
Start every day asking what would make you smile
Instead, start every day asking what would make you smile, or give you that feeling of satisfaction of a job well done? Ideally, it’s something you can get done in a focused 60-90 minute block of time (there are more strategies in the book which can help you choose).
Each day when I set my big 3, I make sure I choose my highlight first; something that I will look forward to doing and I mark it in my big 3 with an H. Often it is something outside of work. I find that when I’ve done this, I’m able to concentrate better on setting and then later completing my remaining other big 3 tasks.
So, what’s your highlight today?