the three-item sticky note

February 27th, 2008

So recently, in a catastrophic meta-failure of Not Getting Things Done, I resigned myself to accept the fact I may never ever actually read through the copy of “Getting Things Done” that have had sitting on my nightstand for almost a year, and instead (at my girlfriend’s wise suggestion), just skim through the Wikipedia entry on it instead. Which, actually, turns out, is a fine alternative. I get the gist of it: Do it, Delegate it, Defer it, or Drop it. Don’t let things sit around. I totally get that.

However, what’s really helped me in the past month has been my adoption of a new, very easy to remember mini-GTD method, which I call the “Three-item sticky note.” What it is: a sticky note with three things I hope to accomplish during the day. That’s it. For a working person, I think three items is just about right — too many more, and you’ll be running around like a fool, and any less than three is, let’s face it, underachieving. For longer term planning, I put stuff on an online ta-da list that I can add or subtract to from anywhere.

But ironically, the low-tech nature of the Three-item sticky note is its biggest asset; after I write the three items on the sticky, I stash it in my pocket and it sits there bugging the hell out of me and I can’t wait to throw it out — but I can’t throw it out until I do the items! — so you best believe those things get done.

So this trick has been working for me for a couple months now, but there are other ways to be effective and Get Things Done; what’s yours?


7 Responses to “the three-item sticky note”

  1. from tag gtd David Allen: The Process Is Personal – Living on The Huffington Post Low-Information Diet And Selective Ignorance | The Blog of Author Tim » archive » the three-item sticky noteMail and iGTD Screencast — Circle Six Blog (more..)

  2. Kristen says:

    I can’t even BELIEVE that “Buy Zazz” is not on your 3-item list.

  3. Topher says:

    GTD is a fine thing. If you are looking for more tips check out these sites.

    Both offer great tips on Getting Things Done.

  4. Is item 3 there “Fux EEE”?

  5. Jeff says:


    All I will say is that the EEE *did* get fuxed.

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