The 3-5 Method



I love the board game "Risk." Risk is a classic board game about world domination. You teach yourself a lot about strategy and managing your resources. If I were to pick 4 classic board games to teach your child to develop a mindset that can deal with the real world, it'd be:

  1. Risk (for strategy and tactics)
  2. Monopoly (for resource and financial management)
  3. Scrabble (for vocabulary)
  4. Chess (for mental calculations)

Anyway, there's an episode of Seinfeld where Newman and Kramer are playing a days long game of Risk, and Jerry comments, "It's Risk. It's a game of world domination being played by two guys who can barely run their own lives."

Some people are like Kramer: a lot of crazy ideas that border on genius, but they got A.D.D. You know the ones I'm talking about. They'll go into a diatribe about the history of Chinese oppression in Tibet or preach against whale fishing by the Japanese, but they can't manage a checkbook or lay off the booze and weed. They don't have their shit together in their lives, so they choose to rally around causes on the other side of the world so they can swing their moral hammer.

I've talked a lot about focus in my previous blog entries, and focus comes in handy when it comes to choosing causes and pet projects to fight for. As some of you know, I train and write about strength training and bodybuilding in my spare time.

Bodybuilders know how to focus, because they are mindful of the moment they are in. People who don't like hardship will bitch and complain about an exercise being too painful and will stop the set prematurely. But a bodybuilder is totally focused on that burning sensation in his muscles. He embraces it thinking, "I LOVE working through this pain, because I know it will get me to my goal."

A bodybuilder focuses on the hard work in the gym that gets shit done. Here's a bodybuilding method that I've adapted to prioritize pet causes and the effective actions to be undertaken. It's called the 3-5 Method.

The premise is simple: keep lists of any kind to 3-5 bullet points, NO MORE. Anything beyond 3-5 is not relevant. Develop 2 lists: one list of 3-5 goals you want to accomplish no matter how long it takes, and one list of 3-5 goals that can easily be accomplished right away.

If you have a severe case of A.D.D. and more poor time management skills, then do 2 lists of 3. If you're focused and driven, then do 2 lists of 5.

The great thing about this method is that if you get bored with one project, then you can rotate to another project on your list that you're in the mood for. That way you can recharge, but not be pulled in 10 different directions.
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