2 min read

Use the 3x3 rule of work to focus your efforts

An easy way to simplify your workday
Use the 3x3 rule of work to focus your efforts
Photo by Leon S / Unsplash

Sustain issue #65 (Get Sustain in your inbox next Thursday)

Our brain loves things in threes.

Go to a website and you’re likely to see three bullet points outlining the features of a product. You can remember three steps in a high-stress situation: Stop, drop, and roll. Look to literature and you’ll see threes everywhere. Just ask Goldilocks about her three bears.

It’s because threes are not too little. Not too much. They’re just right.

It’s also why my Three Good Pockets concept has been so popular with this community. The world may suck but you can always find three things a day that brings you fulfillment.

The 3x3 rule for work

So with the power of three in mind, I’m excited to share a new concept I’ve been working on — the 3x3 Rule of Work.

The idea is simple:

3x3 = 3 daily priorities which support 3 overall priorities

This rule helps you hone in on the highest impact work (you only get three!). It also helps you work in a sustainable way (simply three items a day!).

You need to work in a way where you can show up tomorrow, next week, and next month. You don’t want to crisp over the burnout fire. (At least you’ll remember to stop, drop, and roll.)

If you do more than three things at work today it jeopardizes your ability for success tomorrow. So if you’re done with your three daily priorities at 3:30, be done for the day. Log off.

You’re cruising in the carpool lane on the expressway to burnout if you have more than three overall priorities at work. You’re not doing a good enough job focusing only on high-impact work.

Now’s the time to deprioritize the nice to have. Your energy is finite and there’s only room for the highest impact work within the 3x3 rule.


Ready to downsize your relationship with work and quit burnout?

Hi, I'm Grant Gurewitz. I'm on a mission to eliminate burnout at work. I've been in tech for 10 years (ex-Zillow, current: Qualtrics) and suffered deep burnout and came back from it even though I never found a playbook for doing so. So, I'm writing it myself.

✉️ Want my top tips? I share my full step-by-step playbook in How I Quit Burnout, my premium newsletter. Get the next one delivered straight to your inbox >

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