“Just Three Things,” Ensign, Oct. 1990, 72
Just get up long enough to do three things; then you can come back to bed, I bribed myself one morning. I had been discouraged with my decreased strength and stamina after an illness, so I had stayed in bed for several days—reading and watching TV by the hour. But now I knew I needed to do something to get going again.
In the beginning, I simply took my laundry and dirty dishes from the bedroom. Gradually I began to actually wash a few dishes, do just one batch of laundry, and clean just one countertop. It wasn’t long until my strength returned and I could quit trying to “trick” myself.
But then I began to find other uses for my “rule of three.” I have always hated ironing, but ironing just three shirts is no challenge at all. Studying just three pages a day got me through an extension class I was taking. And reading as little as three pages of scriptures each day keeps me on track spiritually.
Waiting until I have three errands saves time and gasoline. Making three phone calls in a row dampens my tendency to visit too long. Before I get out of the car, I always check for three things to take into the house. I do the same when I move from room to room. And I often clean three shelves or wash three windows, saving the rest for another day.
When I feel overwhelmed with a job, I divide it into pieces and do just three at a time. If I have a difficult lesson to prepare, I may begin simply by gathering pencil and paper and the books I need. Later, I outline just three pages. Soon the lesson is not only prepared, but I have allowed more time for direction from the Spirit.
Some of my friends say it’s crazy to quit in the middle of a job. I envy their stamina. But Thoreau was right when he said that we each march to a different drummer. Every journey is made one step at a time, and every building is built one brick at a time. Unless you’re running out of time, it probably doesn’t matter whether the bricks are all laid in one day—or just three at a time.—Caryl P. Hepworth, Brigham City, Utah