Hyperbole is usually the faintest form of praise. However, in this case, 3 small, well chosen words have been the source of wonderful change.
If you haven’t ever heard of the “3 Words” system, it’s simple. Rather than making New Year’s resolutions, with all the ensuing discouragement and failure, you pick three words that will help you organize and focus your activities. The process was invented by Chris Brogan and you can read a fuller explanation of the 3 word process on his site. The briefest of overviews in Chris’ own words:
Pick any three words that will guide you in the choices you intend to make for 2016. They should be words that let you challenge yourself as to motives and decisions. They should be words that help you guide your actions. The idea behind there being three words (and not five or seven or one) is that you can create a kind of “triangulation” between three words, such that they can stand alone and work together.
I’ve been doing this myself for a few years now. Over those years my words have been:
2012: Foc.us, Peace.full, Fear.less
2013: Competence, Courage, Completion
2014: Relationship, Retirement, Rest
2015: I tried a different system of goal setting and was disappointed by my results
For 2016 my 3 Words are: Focus, Finish, Fun
Focus – I have lots of things that interest me. The nature of my job encourages me to splinter my time responding to issues, questions and requests. Focus reminds me to make dedicated space to do one thing. I’m starting out focusing for just 20 minute blocks at a time. It’s early going on this, but I’ve already realized how painfully well I’ve trained myself into terrible habits of jumping from one task to another. The research on “multi-tasking” is unequivocal. Humans can’t do it!
The goal of this word is to get away from chasing every shiny thing.
Finish – The other aspect of doing lots of things at once is how few of them get completely finished. Most projects are completed to usability, but rarely to well documented, fully rolled out, usability. My word, finish, reminds me that it’s the last 5% that moves most projects from something I find helpful personally, to resources others in my world can use as well. So I’ve committed to use focus to get things fully completed and then shipped.
Fun – You wouldn’t think anyone would need to have a reminder to include fun in your life, but I find I do. I can get so focused on all the balls I have up in the air that even when I’m doing things that are fun, I’m not actually engaged in them to enjoy it at all. I’m worrying, planning, thinking of potential solutions to problems and miss the joy that’s available in large amounts whenever I take the time to see it.
The work still needs to be done for sure. However, I’m discovering there is lots of room for joy in the world of work as well.
3 Words away from an Exceptionally Awesome Year, it’s really true!