The 3-Step Formula to Getting Things Done

Confession: I’m a mediocre cook.

I have friends who decorate cakes and make hard-to-find Singaporean snacks of such high quality that Singaporeans living here in Melbourne fall over themselves to order.

Me, I would much rather read a book, write an article, or research my favourite subjects on the internet.

So what do I do when 6 pm comes around?

Mostly, it depends on what’s in my fridge and pantry.

I might fall back on something I remember my grandma cooking. (Thanks Ah Ma!)

When I’m in a hurry or am out of ideas, I turn to something like this.


#1 Assemble ingredients. #2 Follow instructions. #3 Cook.

It doesn’t get easier than this.

And voilà, the troops are fed and everyone’s happy.

Sometimes we make life more complicated than it needs to be.

Have you noticed how when an expert (my definition: someone with expertise and/or experience in a specific subject) recommends doing 1-2-3, only a tiny percentage will say “OK” and actually do it?

The majority will be stuck in the logistics and the how-to.

“Can I do 2-3-1?”

“Can I skip 2 and still get the same result?”

“How do I get to step 6?”

“I haven’t got the time/money.”

Some questions are valid. Some are just our way of putting off something we know we need or should do, but don’t feel like committing to right now. Sometimes our ego gets in the way. So we look for an opt-out option, a distraction, a reason to not have to take action immediately.

I am learning that if I want to get results, sometimes it’s as simple as 1-2-3.

Do what the expert tells me. How I feel about it is not relevant.

Having done it, I can now decide if the result is what I wanted, and if it’s not, I can make the adjustments, and move on to the next step.

The more I apply (respecting the script and the wisdom and experience of those who have gone before), the better my outcomes, and at some point I may even earn the right to suggest improvements and alternatives and to offer my own take on the script.

But until then, I’ll stick with 1-2-3.