Threes All the Way Down
As the new year approaches, I’ve been looking at structured journals, which could also be called planners, and general goal setting and tracking advice. Some of the journals I’ve looked at are Living Your Best Year Ever Journal and the Best Self Journal.
Interestingly, the number three comes up a lot. These planning templates tend to land around three goals for either a ninety day period or the full year, then three main tasks per week, and three main tasks per day.
Why? Three is a very manageable number for our human brains. A set of three goals is something you can hold onto and work with. Three longer term goals are few enough that you can frame every single day with them and stay true to your goals. Similarly, three daily tasks is few enough that you can keep track of your progress throughout the day and easily know if you completed your tasks for the day.
The day and the quarter seem like perhaps the most useful units of time to set goals for. A day is a more manageable short time frame than a week. And a quarter is a more manageable long time frame than a year. Yet both days and quarters are long enough to be worth planning and tracking.
So a super simple planning system could be three goals a quarter, and three main tasks a day, with a daily review of the three quarterly goals. This way, you can align your daily actions and longer term goals and always be making progress on a manageable set of goals with a clear ending.