Just Three Users Guide

Introduction

Thank you for using Just Three! Your Just Three is a tool to help you manage and balance your life, identify the things that are important to you, and get them done. Just Three isn’t about getting more things done, it’s about getting more important things done.

Just Three planners each contain pages for one fortnight (two weeks). This is partly for practical reasons (to create a planner that fits easily in your pocket), but also because it requires you to think about everything on your master list every two weeks. (more on this further on)

Getting Started

When you get started with a new Just Three planner, give yourself a little bit of time to get it set up. Think about what the three most important things you could do over the coming fortnight are, and fill those in on the first page. Refer back to those goals regularly, as they will help guide your weekly and daily goals.

At the beginning of your book are a couple of 2-page spread lists: Things to do for others and Things to do for myself. Populate these lists from any running to-do list you might already have. These pages provide a repository for you to draw from as you’re making your list each day. As you’re transferring items over, consider each one: is this something you still need to do? Is doing this thing a valuable or enjoyable use of your time, or is it something that you can delegate? Throughout the fortnight, as you think of things that need to be done, add them to these lists. (Note to Beta Testers: the text in your book includes “This Fortnight” at the end of each page title– the production books won’t have that qualifier, these are lists for anything you want to get done)

Planning

The key to success with your Just Three planner is good planning. Make sure to set aside 15 minutes at the end of every day to review what you’ve done and set your goals for the coming day (or week).

When thinking of your goals for any given time period, it’s best to get an idea for how much time you’ll have available, then pick goals that will fill about 50% of that time in your estimation. This will give you a built in buffer for things that come up throughout the day and (hopefully) remove the temptation to say “oh, I couldn’t do that because something came up”.

For example: if you work a 40 hour week, and you spend 8 out of those 40 hours in meetings, on calls, or otherwise “blocked”, you should choose goals for the week that you’d estimate to take about 16 hours.

It’s also important that your tasks have a defined “completion” point. At the end of the day you should be able to know definitively whether something is complete or not. For example, “Work on project” isn’t a great goal but “Complete section 1 of project” is. If you don’t have good measurable subsections of a project, then a goal like “Work on project for 1 hour” will suffice, but isn’t ideal.

Things for others and things for yourself

When thinking about the things you’d both like and need to do, it’s easy to get caught up in the obligations we have to others. Our jobs, our bills, etc, etc. Just Three makes room for those obligations, but also gives equal billing to things you’d like to do for yourself.

Setting up your week

At the beginning of each week, it’s time to identify your three big goals of the week. Refer back to your fortnight goals, as those can help inform your goals for the week. Calculate your available time, look at your fortnight goals and your running list of tasks at the beginning of your Just Three, and use those to inform your list.

At the beginning of your week, there’s a few lines of space to report on notes on that week. This is a place to note things like “I had a huge emergency dropped in my lap that derailed my week” or “I found it to be really helpful to start out the week by meeting with my boss.”

Managing your day

You should work on laying out your day either the evening before or the morning of. If you set up your day too early, your priorities and availability might change.

Before setting your goals for the day, first set up your daily schedule. In the outer margin of your Just Three, you’ll see a hollow line marked “6, 10, 2, 6, 10”. Those numbers represent times: 6am, 10am, 2pm, etc. Fill in the sections of the line when you have obligations to yourself or others: meetings, calls, gym time, meal time, etc. This will give you a good visual representation of your availability in any given day. You can make some short notes in the margin about what these times are for. (Note to Beta Testers: in the production planners, there will be small marks inside the schedule bar to indicate every hour, making it easier to divide your time)

Once you have visibility into your availability for the day, it’s time to set up your goals for the day, again being mindful of not “overestimating” what you’ll be able to do. If you get into a habit of putting more on your list than you’re able to achieve, then you’ll end up feeling like you’re floundering or underachieving, and eventually give up. It’s much better to underestimate and overperform than the other way around.

Weekends

Whatever days you make your weekend, take a little room to breathe. We just have one day to cover your whole weekend, with one set of threes to cover both days. It’s up to you as to how “challenging” these things should be. Play around and see what works for you.

Tracking

At the bottom of your daily pages, there are areas for tracking 4 factors that can contribute to your productivity and success on a daily basis: mood, sleep, substances and exercise. In addition, there’s an area in the center of each page for you to report, at the end of the day, how productive you felt you were.

Mood

Details on tracking mood coming soon.

Sleep

Details on tracking sleep coming soon.

Substances

Details on tracking substances coming soon.

Exercise

Details on tracking exercise coming soon.

Productivity

Details on tracking productivity coming soon.

Analyzing your tracked information

Information on how to analyze your tracked information coming soon.

More Information

Additional Pages

Towards the back of your Just Three, you’ll find a number of pages with blank lists. You can use these pages however you see fit, but some ideas:

  1. Shopping lists. You may find it useful to keep running lists of things that you need at different stores. Run out of milk? Add it to the “Grocery” list.
  2. Project tracking. Keep a running list of all the pieces of a project you’re working on.
  3. Notes– you might choose to use one or more pages for random notes

Accountability Partners

It can be extremely useful to have an accountability partner to talk through your list every week. More information on what makes a good accountability partner relationship coming soon.

Keeping track of your spot

You might find it useful to use paperclips or the like to keep track of commonly used pages like today’s date, a project you’re working on, the store you’re going to, etc.