Three things

I used to squeeze my to-do list with a lot of tasks, I felt I should spend every minute of my day efficiently. But that was a recipe for burnout.

I would end up overwhelmed and disappointed, feeling I barely accomplished much at the end of the day.

Lately, I've been focusing on just doing three things for the day.

Here's the system that I've been using, which draws from the Bento method.

My tasks are split into 3 categories:

  • large (P1): Deep work that requires intense focus like writing articles, doing assignments, coding. (90+ mins)
  • medium (P2): Busy work that are process-based like research, editing, and organizing information. (45-60 mins)
  • short (P3): Habitual work like reading emails, catching up on news, doing the dishes, listening to podcasts. (15-30 mins)

So what are the three things?

For me, they comprise of one P1 task, and two P2 task. And however many P3 tasks that I perform on autopilot, like making my daily protein shake and listening to podcasts on the way to class, or doing laundry on the weekend.

Now, there's also the question of when.

If you do time-blocking, how should you fit these tasks into your day?

Your energy level throughout the day has 3 brackets too:

  • peak: mind and body are at their highest functioning form
  • through: exhausted from work during your peak period and need time and rest to replenish.
  • rebound: body is recovering from the low-energy trough and is ready to get back in focus mode for another few hours.

Assign P1 tasks to the peak, and P2 tasks to the throughs. And for P3 tasks, save them for when your energy levels are at its lowest, since you can perform them on autopilot mode.