That got your attention. In this instance I’m talking about metaphorical ones rather than real ones (but I could tell you a story about them too). I try to be more philosophical than productive on here but I’d like to share my three golden rules of doing stuff – sounds vague but bear with me.

During my army training, we had a lot to do and not very much time. In order to best use my time and prioritise my err, priorities I used the following three rules:

1. Shoot the crocodile closest to the boat. What the hell does that mean? You are in the boat and… oh never mind. Do the thing that’s going to get you in trouble first. I might have had an essay due in a week but needed to have boots like black diamonds first thing in the morning, so the boots get done and I’d find time to do the essay later.

2. You use the time you give yourself to do anything (within reason). If I had a bag to pack and had 6 hours, I’d take 6 hours. If I self-imposed a 2 hour deadline, it would take me 2 hours.

3. If it was passed midnight and I wasn’t achieving anything, go to bed and set my alarm half an hour early. This took self-awareness to realise that I was done in and needed sleep, and is also linked to rule #2 because the task that might have taken an hour the night before would only take half an hour in the morning, because it had to.

Granted, that was a fairly niche crucible through which I thought up those rules but actually they can apply to just about anything. The first one might not apply as much in normal life as we’re unlikely to get in trouble but if something will take a few minutes, just get it down – paying a bill is a good example. Rule 2 can be used over longer periods. Have a goal you want to achieve in a year? Can it be done in 6 months if you put your mind to it? Rule 3, don’t bang your head against a brick wall. Maybe you a good night’s sleep, a run, or a cold shower and the answer will come later.

I’m willing to bet a pint that you’re a smart, capable human. You’ve got this far in life by doing what you do. You probably already have a few little rules that help you out. What are they? You might surprise yourself.

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