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I have read that one must only work on 3 major tasks within a day to be productive. Is there any truth to this or even anecdotal evidence? Or maybe there's some other magic number? I do feel it depends on the individual but in general, what is the ballpark?

I have tried it and I feel it helps me keep my sanity when I have so many things to do. But I do have to push back other tasks to several days (even if I feel I can fit them in a shorter time if I just "put more effort").

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What's your source? These things usually are mentioned in a certain context and are valid within a specific time management methodology. Generalizing won't get you anywhere. – AsheeshR Mar 17 '14 at 14:48
Must be highly individual. In my case most certainly if I have more than one then only one is done more or less decently if at all – მამუკა ჯიბლაძე Mar 19 '14 at 8:00
This book recommends 3 tasks a day: – Kramii Mar 21 '14 at 20:07

As the answer is individual, do this:

  1. In the beginning of the day, or the night before, select a number of daily tasks you think is good for you.
  2. Write down as many tasks as you've decided.
  3. Go ahead and dedicate your day to achieving these goals.
  4. In the end of the day, review how happy are you with your productivity and how many/much of the tasks you've manged to complete.
  5. Move your focus to the next day.
  6. Go to step 1

Repeat until the optimal number of goals has been found.

Tip to make this work

Set one month as your testing period, but make sure to really go through this process every day. Marking every day in the calendar for doing all the steps, and trying not to break the chain of marks, will help a lot.

P.S. Please submit the result of your research!

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