Power of Three

First, there were the three wise men coming with gifts for the baby Jesus the three crosses and let’s not forget the trinity.

Then, the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria brought Columbus and the first settlers to the Americas.

Finally, in fiction you have the three musketeers, Larry, Curly and Moe, and lately the heroic Harry, Ron and Hermione.

So how does the power of three work for us?

When the holidays bring stress into our lives I have to remind myself of the power of three. If you’re like me, your list of things to do is as long as both arms. I take one look and want to crawl into a hole.

How on earth are we to get it all done? More importantly how are we really supposed to enjoy friends and family which we wish to share these joyful times if we’re wrapped up in all the list of things yet to get done?

The power of three.

Let me explain. If you’re a list maker like myself, when you’re finished you’d like to tear the whole thing up before you even have time to start . So instead, pick the top three. Just three, no more. Trust me on this.

If you don’t have a list right now, and especially with Thanksgiving in a few days, take a minute, but do stop at 10 things, you can always come back later. I’ll wait.

Now, find the three most important things to do. Pick the first most important and set the list aside. When the first one is done, go onto the second, and then the third. When you’re finished, find the list and check them off. Pick the next three on the list. There, you have a system bringing down the stress of the holidays, leaving room for friends and family.

More often than not I find I have nine to twelve things done off my list in any given day and I had no stress about each. Better yet I felt I’d accomplished something with my day instead of fretting over the unfinished list and doing a poor job of accomplishing anything while hiding my head in a pillow wishing the whole thing would go away.

If you don’t already have a sure-fire stress free way of accomplishing all your tasks, give this a try. Let me know how it works for you. What about you? Any other ideas? Together we’ll all get through the holidays unscathed.

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About Nancy J Nicholson

Nancy J. Nicholson is a wife, mother, writer, and full-time sailor, writing of her adventures and creating contemporary mysteries along the shores of the eastern United States and Caribbean. She fills her time with new friends, exploration, food, knitting and reading.
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18 Responses to Power of Three

  1. I’ll see your threes, and raise you 5! =) for some reason, I’ve always done things in 5′s. I’ll do 5 dishes, then fold 5 pieces of laundry, then write for 5 minutes. I’ll clean 5 things in the bathroom, then 5 things in the living room then ….well, you get the picture. For some reason, 5 seems to be my magic number….at least on those days that I feel like cleaning, laundry, writing, etc…..=)

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  3. Couldn’t agree more, Nancy and Carrie. I love to pick a number (like Carrie, 5 is my normal one) and zero in on it for getting something accomplished.

    What a perfect reminder, Nancy. I’m eyeing my list right now.

  4. Carol Roe says:

    I don’t think I have a specific number. I just know I must start somewhere and not plan to try and do it ALL in one day. I gets so overwhelming if I do. I have also learned to delegate jobs :) I no longer make the entire Thanksgiving feast. I make the Turkey, dressing, potatoes and hot vegtable. Everything else is brought buy others. We also try to keep it simple. After all the day is not as much about food as it is family and friends. Hugs…

  5. syndianne says:

    I think holiday stress sometimes stems from trying to manage other people’s expectations. Once I stopped trying to make what I thought was a “perfect” holiday experience for my family, the stress melted away. I no longer decorate, bake or make gifts, and I rarely shop (the nieces and nephews get checks). I focus on enjoying the people and party cooking and ignore the rest of the “holiday craziness”. The meals taste just as fine whether there’s a wreath on the door (or hatch) or not.

  6. I like this strategy Nancy. I’m done for the day but tomorrow I have a long list so I’m going to put this into practice. I know it will help.

  7. Nancy, what a fabulous idea. Tomorrow’s list will be divided into threes. Hope you are basking in warm weather over the holidays!

  8. I usually keep a long list of things that I need to take care of daily. Sigh. And I move the unchecked items onto the next day… every day! But I keep a positive attitude, and remind myself that tomorrow is another day, and the world is not going to break into pieces if I’m a little behind.

    I like the idea of picking only three most important things off the list. Very clever! Thank you for that advice — I definitely will start using this technique :-)

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