Last week was my birthday week! And while I am still not sure about turning 42, what a perfect time to revisit the CAKE method.
If you haven’t heard of it, the CAKE method is my solution to figuring out how you are going to focus during the day. This is something I needed to do to stop the anxiety and overwhelm I was feeling while working full time, having a family, and running a full-time business. My to-do list would be pages long and I would get disappointed that I didn’t get it all done in a day.
I was setting myself up for failure.
Before the CAKE method, I would wake up and make a ginormous list of all the things I wanted to do. I would get to about 3 pm and realize I had done about one of them and then feel completely overwhelmed and defeated by the time I went to bed because I felt like I didn’t get anything done. But the truth of the matter is, I was setting myself up for failure.
Meetings (aka the day job) take time. Parenting takes time. Giving yourself some space to think, takes time. So the CAKE method really allows you to pull in all aspects of your life and focus on the right things at the right time.
So let’s break it down.
First, I didn’t create this. I honestly can’t remember when I heard of it, but it just stuck. Thinking about your day in terms of a 3-layer chocolate cake was just my speed!
So, the Cake.
It is 3 layers. (aka your 3 BIG things for the day) and everything else is sprinkles.
Why does this work?
Well, it is actually a Kaizen Habit (this is my MBA kicking in). It's an Agile principle that a lot of Fortune 500 companies and teams use.
The Rule of 3 is a productivity principle that encourages us to focus on achieving just three meaningful outcomes every day, week, month, and year.
It’s one of the simplest but most effective productivity rituals you will ever come across. The key benefit is to reduce time spent doing unimportant work while improving your personal efficiency and effectiveness.
The rule of 3 has no overheads. It’s a great technique to figure out what you need to focus on. The most important thing about The Rule of 3 is that you are focusing on outcomes over activities.
“By starting your day with three outcomes, you clarify what you want to accomplish. When you know what you want to accomplish, you can prioritize more effectively, and you can let things go,”
That’s the key. Let things go.
So let’s try it.
Each day pick out your 3 layer cake. You can mix and match between all your personal pillars. So maybe it's a big 9-5 meeting, an activity with your kids, and a workout for yourself. That is your focus for the day. Everything else is sprinkles!!!
Here are J. D. Meier’s (a contributor for Medium magazine) guidelines for adopting The Rule of 3, or the CAKE Method.
You can also ask yourself a few simple questions at the beginning and end of the day: “What good shall I do this day?” in the morning and “What good have I done today?” before bed.
“The power of the Rule of 3 is in mental focus and concentration. It’s a pre-commitment to finishing 3 things that matter. Day-in, day-out, no exceptions.
Achieving 3 important outcomes a day might not seem like much, but that’s 1,095 meaningful results over the course of a year,”
I use the rule of 3 rule to hit my targets for the day, week, month, and year. 3 goals a day. 3 main goals a month. 3 main goals a quarter. You get the idea.
You can then take this next level and use the power of your morning routine to knock out ONE of those tasks, so going into your day you already feel accomplished.
When you have a personal system that is sustainable to create results you start to build confidence. The overwhelm starts to disappear and because you are consistent, you start to see progress.
You can use the CAKE method to change your entire life, one day at a time. Try it! I share mine every weekday in my stories on IG, tag me on yours!
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