1-3-5 Rule: Prioritization is key to productivity, do it as easily as 1-3-5

It seems like there are more guides for how to get things done than you can possibly count. Fortunately, you don’t have to know all of them. You just need to know something that works best for you. One recommendation is the 1-3-5 rule, and we will be covering what this is and how you can use it to improve your own life.


What is the 1-3-5 rule?

First of all, you need to accept the idea that you can only accomplish so much in a given day to understand the 1-3-5 rule. Society has mistaken someone being busy for someone being productive. The truth is that someone who is busy might not always be productive. In fact, when someone is overscheduling themselves, they may see their productivity levels fall.

First, the 1-3-5 rule is based on the premise that you can get 1 big thing, 3 medium things, and 5 small things done in a given day. Trying to push beyond is very challenging and very unlikely to yield the kind of results that you need from it.1 3 5 method of time management


You don’t lose any of your tasks with the 1-3-5 method, you just put them in an order that makes more sense. You can work from the top with the most important tasks down to the bottom with the least important tasks. You get everything done while expending less energy than you did before because you are not constantly switching between tasks.

This strategy may seem a little simplistic to some people, but it is meant to be that way. The purpose of using the 1-3-5 rule is to break your day down into much more manageable chunks, and that is exactly what you do when you use a strategy like this.


How the 1-3-5 rule makes you more productive

Many people say that the 1-3-5 rule makes them more productive by helping them focus on the things that actually matter. They can stop burning so much time looking over tasks that clearly don’t add value to their bottom line, and instead look at what needs to get done to make their day feel complete. Some of the benefits that they have noted include:

  • It helps create a hierarchy of tasks that you need to take care of
  • You are limited to a certain number of tasks each day so you aren’t overextending yourself
  • It allows you to place less emphasis on the tasks that will provide you with fewer benefits

Just writing tasks down is a big step in the right direction. Far too many of us keep our tasks in our minds and don’t think about writing everything down in a way that would be productive and useful for us. This is unfortunate because we are wasting so much of our potential by not taking the time we need to make sure we get our tasks done. We end up feeling like we have no time at all to get anything done because we are so focused on what we should be taking care of.


Who created the 1-3-5 rule?

The 1-3-5 rule is credited with being created by Alex Cavoulacos, the president and CEO of The Muse. He uses it every day to help create the kind of productive atmosphere that he truly desires. This doesn’t mean that things always work out exactly how he might hope, but he is known as one of the most productive people at his company, which is rather large. That says something about the impact that the 1-3-5 rule. It can truly uplift an individual’s productivity level.

The important thing to remember about the 1-3-5 rule is that it is applicable to all areas of your life. It is similar to some other methods such as the ABCDE method in that it allows you to continue to keep the smaller tasks that are part of your day on your list. This technique recognizes that even those smaller tasks are very important to your development as a person.


How to get started with the 1-3-5 rule

There are many ways that you can start with the 1-3-5 method, but the easiest thing to do is write down literally everything that you want to get done with your day and start to look at how those tasks line up with what you know about yourself and what you want to accomplish. Put another way, you need to break down your tasks into the categories that they will eventually fall under when using this method. Let’s take a look at some steps that you can take to get started:

  1. Write down everything that you need to get done in the next few days
  2. Break those tasks out into the categories that you believe they belong (large tasks, medium tasks, small tasks)
  3. Write out each of the tasks in the categories that they go into
  4. Figure out which tasks from each category you would like to handle tomorrow
  5. Repeat this process every day to set yourself up for success

These are important steps to follow so you can truly accomplish everything that you need to accomplish in your day. Getting even a little off track could put you in a position where you are unable to regain the footing that you had before.

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started” – Mark Twain


Example of 1-3-5 rule in action

Applying the 1-3-5 rule in life is easy when you have a lot going on. Take the example of someone working on their college courses. We will call him Kevin. Kevin knows that he needs to take care of certain tasks in a particular order if he wants to attain maximum results. Thus, he may well prioritize certain parts of his work such as putting a paper at the top of his list. Then, he can add a few other pieces of homework below that, and finally, he can throw in 5 tasks that he knows he can work on getting to when all of the more pressing matters are taken care of. This is how he can get through everything. Doing things this way he feels less anxious about the things he needs to do because he has a 1-3-5 plan ahead of him. It also results in less overall stress.


3 things to keep in mind when using the 1-3-5 rule

When you start looking at how the 1-3-5 rule can come in handy for you, you may get excited by the potential that it has to offer. It is important to temper your excitement to some extent just to keep everything in check and make sure you are pursuing this new productivity method for the right reasons. We wanted to go over some reasons why you need to keep yourself in line when it comes to this productivity method.


1. This Method Only Works If You Know What Deserves Priority

There is no benefit to using the 1-3-5 rule if you don’t know which tasks need to be prioritized above the others. You cannot get much out of it if you think that all of your tasks are equally important. You know which tasks need to receive your full attention, and this method helps you put that down on paper.

prioritise with 1 3 5 time management method

It is an alternative to other methods such as the Pomodoro method and the time management matrix method, and we believe that it will help you achieve everything that you are trying to accomplish.


2. You Won’t Be Perfect At It From The Start

You can put all of your efforts into this method from the beginning, but you still aren’t going to be perfect at it from the start. You deserve to give yourself some breathing room on this. Make sure you recognize when you are struggling to make the changes that you know you need to make. As long as you recognize this, you can adjust the way that you do your business to help make the plan work for you once again.


3. It Is Habit-Building

The power behind the 1-3-5 method is that it is truly habit-forming. You start to get used to doing things a certain way, and you will not deviate from that method for long. If you are stacking all of your most important tasks at the top of your day, then you will naturally start to do so without much struggle, and that will lead to more getting done. You just have to condition yourself for this change in the beginning.


How does the 1-3-5 rule compare to “to-do” lists?

To-do lists have been around for a long time, but they aren’t always all that inspiring to people because they may lack some of the depth that other productivity methods provide. People still write them because they have often been taught from an early age that this is the way to go. However, there are many people who are starting to switch out of to-do lists and on to methods such as the 1-3-5 rule.

This allows them to get more done without feeling like there is a never-ending list that they have to get to. That is important because it means that there is some reward for having done the best work that you can. People thrive when they are given rewards for doing the right thing. The 1-3-5 rule helps reward positive behaviors taken in the right direction because so much more work is done than what would have otherwise been possible. This is critically important, and it is yet another reason to consider switching out of to-do lists and into something like this.

To-do lists can be a place to start, but you don’t want to get stuck in this type of thinking for too long. It will hold you back because you aren’t making the forward progress that you need to when it comes to getting the big things done.



Many people are using the 1-3-5 method to finish their biggest tasks of the day first. If that sounds ideal to you, then you need to make the switch as well. It is a productivity method that can change your life and help you see the finish line on the big projects that you are taking on today.

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