Rituals: Three Things

Ritual: Three Things - Episode 138 of The Slow Home Podcast In last Monday’s episode, Ben and I spoke about the ritual of brain dumping. Where you take a blank piece of paper and write down everything that’s on your mind – big or small, important or not. We spoke about the ways in which it helps us to let go of anxiety and avoid that paralysing feeling of overwhelm we sometimes experience, and why we’ve made it a semi-regular part of our daily rhythm. But what we didn’t discuss was what to do with those tasks once they were out on paper. The biggest criticism of the brain dumping ritual is that it often leaves people feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work that needs to be done, so in today’s episode we talk about how to create an effective to-do list for every day. That might sound more like a productivity tool than one designed to help you slow down, but, as you might expect, we’re all about keeping it very simple, and we specifically talk about creating a to-do list with only three tasks on it. Yes. Just three. I used to be a big list maker, overwhelming myself every day by listing 30 or 40 tasks to do, which left me feeling defeated and overwhelmed before I’d even started. And even when I did get a lot done during one day, the fact that there were dozens on tasks on my to-do list that remained unchecked, I ended the day feeling like a failure.  When I made the change to a to-do list of three things only, a few things happened:
  • I became more productive
  • I felt less anxious and overwhelmed
  • I was able to move ahead on more projects because I was committed to taking steps every day, rather than only occasionally
In this episode Ben and I talk about why we prefer this approach, but also how to try it yourself and how to combine the Brain Dump ritual with this one, to create a powerhouse ritual of productivity every day! This ritual isn’t so much about doing less, but focusing more. It’s about priorities, action and spending our time and energy wisely, and we’d love you to try it out this week. Every morning this week, try writing a to-do list of only three main tasks for the day ahead, and see whether your productivity and mental wellbeing has improved, stayed the same, or decreased by the time Friday rolls around.


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4 Responses to Rituals: Three Things

  1. I think the way I use my bullet journal makes it well suited to this. I actually have 3 ongoing to do lists – I have “in the near future”, which lists nearly everything I think of (so like a brain dump), then at the start of the week I list the top priorities in my weekly log (bills to pay, going for a blood test etc), then a daily list. Definitely keeping the daily list to around 3 things is helpful, and then I can refer back to the other master lists if I get through what I had listed specific to that day!

    • This sounds like a great system Tyra! I’m a big fan of starting the week out with a list (or a brain dump) of everything that needs to happen and then working out how it will slot in to our rhythm during the week. The 3 Things helps so much in avoiding overwhelm too.

  2. I wanted to follow up on Brooke’s comment that she wouldn’t list showering. She said something like that’s something that just happens and the items should be tasks that are going to improve your life or move you forward. For people who are depressed or have health challenges or just overwhelmed parents, showering may not be something that just happens. Maybe taking a shower, having a cup of tea and meditating are the 3 tasks. What a task looks like varies so much depending on our current circumstances and priorities.

    I love your poggies. It’s like listening in on two buds having a chat. Thanks for making them!