The 1-3-5 method is a productivity method which is gaining a lot of popularity online lately.
I am constantly searching for new methods to improve my productivity, and I first learned about this method from The Muse in this article.
What Is The 1-3-5 Method?
According to the 1-3-5 method you have to plan to accomplish 1 big thing in a day, three medium things and five small thing. The method helps you set priorities for your work and not just end up doing random tasks which come your way.
They also created a 1-3-5 template that you can use to implement this method.
There is also one app you can use to put this concept into practice, it’s called 135list.
The concept sounds pretty easy and everyone can apply it, even without the need of any app by just listing their daily goals in a piece of paper and categorizing them into three parts according to their importance.
Does the 1-3-5 Method Work? (my personal thoughts)
I am sure that the 1-3-5 method is going to raise the productivity of lot people who try it. But I personally prefer to use productivity methods which focus more on building routines. I also love to time box tasks. For example, I see in the picture above (taken from the page of 135list app) that the one of the tasks on the “small things” is get the kids from school.
If we think about this in terms of priorities, you have to complete the “big” things first before getting the kids from school. But tasks like this have a specific time of the day when they have to be done and thus they require a timetable rather than just being categorized as “small things”. Like, it would be better if it was take the kids from school at 3 pm, for example. In my opinion the best productivity method is one which assigns a specific time to each task and a specific task to each time of the day.
I also hate when I get stuck on some task and I spend more time that it is requires to complete it. And if I followed the 1-3-5 productivity method, I am afraid that I would spend too much time to complete the first “big thing” and I wouldn’t have time to complete the other smaller tasks at the end of the day.
How to Take the Best Out of This Method
To make the best out of this method, I think it is important to classify tasks according to importance just like in the 1-3-5 method, just that it is better to assign next to each task specific times when they need to be completed.
And the best time to complete the most important and urgent tasks is in the morning.
The less important task, those which don’t require too much focus can be completed in the remaining part of the day.
I think you can get more done with a schedule compared to a to-do list. I just schedule the most important task of for the day in the first two hours in the morning and I am sure that I will get them done with the highest focus. But I avoid spending too much time on something which is already done, by scheduling less important task for later in the day.
My Productivity System
Instead of categorizing tasks according to priority, I categorize them according to how often they need to be done. Let’s say I have a task that I have to do every day for my job. I schedule it for the first two hours of my day. Then if there is a task which has to be done every week I do it in the second two working hours of the day.
I work as a professors assistant at university and I have to prepare a new chapter every week for my lessons. I schedule to do it during the second hours of the day.
During the next two hours of the day I perform a task which has to be done monthly. And in the next two hours of my working day I schedule a task which has do be done yearly. So, my schedule looks something like this:
And as soon as a new task comes up I categorize it in one of the categories: if it needs to be done daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. And I assign a specific time for it.
For example, the task needs to be done every week and I assign it to Monday. If the task takes longer than two hours to complete and it has to be done every week, I divide it into two parts and I assign it to Monday and Tuesday.
As you can see from the timetable above, my work day is divided into 4 parts consisting of two hours each. Then there are the half hour breaks which I use to recharge between tasks. The daily tasks are the most important ones to complete and the ones which require the highest focus.
I use Google Calendar to plan my days and I select the option repeat daily, weekly, monthly or yearly accordingly.
This system is also great because I can compare my results on a task each period with the previous period when I did the same task. I keep notes on my results for most of the tasks.
The 1-3-5 of planning your goals for a day does a good job with setting the priorities for the day. But I prefer my own old system that I use to plan my days, which I described in the section above.
My system emphases the fact that a lot of tasks have to be done on a regular basis, so why spend a lot of time planning and prioritizing them when you can just schedule a task and set it to repeat weekly, monthly or even yearly in your planning software?
Did you like this article? Tell me more about how you plan your days in the comments section below. I would really appreciate your comments and I would love to hear your experiences on planning and being productive.
I will write more about my productivity system on my next posts, in which I will talk about the pros, cons and pitfalls of this system. If you like this article follow me on social media and please give it a share.