The Rule of 5

Are you trying to stay productive by keeping a to-do list? (Join the club.)

Do you have an app that helps you keep track of it? (We meet every week.)

How successful are you in checking off each task on your to-do list? Be honest. (No, unfortunately there is no club but we could start one.)

If you are like me, smart phone apps like Wunderlist that help organize your to-do lists are amazing! I like how it can by synced through the cloud of technology from my smart phone to my computer with ease. The relationship we share is quite simple. I finish a variety of tasks; I add more things I need to get done; I repeat as necessary. Unfortunately, the cycle never ends which leaves me feeling unaccomplished. On a good day–I’ll check off about seven to nine tasks off my to-do list. By night fall, I add more tasks to it to remind myself of what I need to do tomorrow. This tedious and unrewarding system made me seek an alternative way that is more satisfying. Please do not get me wrong, I am happy with apps like Wunderlist and hard copy to-do lists, but I need fulfillment in my life knowing I made a dent in my world of endless tasks.

Currently, this is what my Wunderlist looks like:

This may not seem over whelming to some, but for me it is more than I can handle from one day after another! When I started searching for an easier method, I sat at my desk tapping on a stack of yellow sticky notes. You have seen them and have probably wrote down some quick notes on them. I use them daily to write notes and transfer them to the always-faithful Wunderlist.

Instead of transferring all my tasks and agendas to Wunderlist and leaving them there, why not rank them on a day-to-day basis? If I take the top five things that are a priority for a given day, I am sure to finish them and the rest can wait. You might be asking yourself, how this is different from the tedious cycle as before? Well, according to “The Rule of 5” it is setting yourself up for an achievable goal that is within your reach. When you have this mindset, you can finish your list of five tasks for the day. And you are more likely to get them done than a longer list.

Still don’t believe me? Try it or read some other examples of “The Rule of 5”.

If you want to start using this method today, here are some helpful tips:

  • Use a solid color sticky note such as yellow. The color yellow helps you remember what you wrote down.
  • When you get used to a solid color, reward yourself with a different color, style, design.
  • Keep your list to five to follow “The Rule of 5” and to reap the full benefits.
  • If you do not finish everything on your list, it is ok! Add them to the top of tomorrow’s list.
  • If you finish everything on your list, prepare tomorrow’s list before tomorrow gets here by being one step ahead.

What are you some helpful tools you use to stay productive?