There’s a productivity principle called the “Rule of 5” which Jack Canfield taught me over 10 years ago.
He has since indicated many times during our monthly Ask Jack teleseminars that a daily practice of the Rule of 5 during his Chicken Soup for the Soul book launch days was significantly responsible for the meteoric rise and success of that book series.
That series he co-authored with another good friend, Mark Victor Hansen, is on a path to be the first book series, other than the bible, to sell over a billion books!
Regardless whether or not Jack and Mark work the Rule of 5 as I do each week, I believe it’s the simplest, most elegant productivity process I’ve ever utilized to get more projects completed faster, better and with less human effort.
It’s also the same productivity secret that steel magnate, Charles Schwab utilized, first at Carnegie Steel, and then to build and grow Bethlehem Steel to make it the second largest steel maker in the United States, and one of the most important heavy manufacturers in the world!
A productivity maven named, Ivy Lee taught Schwab a similar process, only it involved six, not five items. I’ve offering you the Rule of 5 so you have 20% less work to do.
Here’s How It Works in 7 Simple Steps
I can define productivity in just 5 words: “Maximum results in minimum time.” And to maximize your results requires to review the “big picture” first – your PROJECTS. That’s why we start with…
STEP 1: Choose a PROJECT to complete.
In my world, a PROJECT is made up of more than one TASK. And similarly, a TASK is made up of more than one ACTION. Therefore, the progression looks like this: -> ACTIONS –>> TASKS —>>> PROJECTS
After you’ve identified your PROJECT (S) you’re ready for…
STEP 2: Identify 5 TASKS you do each day.
Each TASK you complete gets you closer to completing the PROJECT with which it’s associated.
STEP 3: Do no more than 5 TASKS each day.
As I said, it takes more than one TASK to complete a PROJECT. Some times it can take dozens of TASKS to complete one PROJECT and here’s where you can go wrong if you’re an “over-achiever” 0r “Type A” personality.
Understand: Doing more than 5 TASKS per day is like trying to run a 26 mile marathon at 100 yard dash speed – you may complete the TASK (100 yard dash) but you’ll have no energy left to complete the PROJECT (25 mile marathon).
That’s why the Rule of 5 is stated as “5” and not “6” or “7” or “4” and so on. Stick to 5 TASKS for the steady and consistent growth that ignites momentum (“Big MO”) sooner.
So far so good?
STEP 4: Prioritize your 5-TASK list each day.
Your most important TASK is #1, your second most important is #2 and so on. This seems obvious, but I know so many people who do less important TASKS sooner just because they’re easier to do.
Listen up: easy or hard is not what determines your long-term success; rather, it’s your ability to prioritize and make good decisions that determines your destiny. This is also the step that most people don’t follow, or to put it more bluntly, just refuse to follow.
Yet STEP 4 the single most important step in the entire process because you’re ability to prioritize determines your ability to make effective and efficient micro-decisions day after day.
And … (read this next sentence twice) … it is your decision making ability is what determines your future.
STEP 5: Rollover incomplete TASK to the next day.
If one or two or three of the Rule of 5 TASKS don’t get completed by the end of your day, assign them for yourself the next day and prioritize them in a sequence of relevant important compared to the new TASKS you don’t rollover.
Beware of this: rollover TASKS don’t increase the number of TASKS you do each day in the Rule of 5 system; and, they don’t prioritized first, just because they are rollover TASKS.
You still have 5 TASKS a day and rollover tasks get priority based on the other new TASKS you’re aiming to complete.
Step 6: Have a weekly “Rule of 5” meeting.
Each Monday, have a meeting that reviews and debriefs the activities of the previous week and assigns the “big picture” TASKS you plan to do this week.
Any PROJECT that gets assigned Rule of 5 TASKS for the week can run parallel with any other PROJECTS you want to complete, you may have to assign yourself different TASK to complete different PROJECTS.
That’s why it’s critical to have a weekly Rule of 5 meeting so you can identify and priority not only your TASKS for the week, but also your PROJECTS.
Makes perfect sense, right?
Step 7: Do NOT skip any of the previous steps!
This step is ridiculously simple if you follow the format and sequence of the previous six steps. That’s because the 6 steps I’ve just outlined don’t stand alone; rather, they’re sequential and build on one another.
Here’s What To Do Next
The Rule of 5 productivity system is simple, but it’s not easy. Go back and re-read this blog post and then comment and share your results below.
Better yet, share this post with your “unproductive” friends and colleagues and give me your opinion in the Comment Box below how helpful you think this post will be for your future.
Many thanks for reading!
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