Focus On This Podcast

149. Complete Your Daily Big 3 with Two Simple Questions



What are the biggest obstacles that people face when struggling to complete their Daily Big 3? Since the Daily Big 3 is a core component of the Full Focus System, understanding the answers to that question can help you break through the stress of those blank Daily Big 3 sections in your planner.

In this episode, Courtney and Verbs discuss two powerful questions that can help get you back on track with your Daily Big 3 practice.

Also, Nick talks about how you’re probably using your dishwasher wrong and how using it correctly can save you a lot of time for more important things.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • The importance of mindset when it comes to breaking through limiting beliefs
  • How we gain clarity from filling out our Daily Big 3
  • How our Daily Big 3 help us achieve our goals
  • More about dishwashers than you ever thought possible.

The dishwasher video from Technology Connections that Nick references:

Also, here’s a follow-up video where the host talks a bit more about how much detergent you should be using:

Make sure to let us know your thoughts about dishwashers or anything else in the Full Focus Planner Community:

Episode Transcript

Verbs Boyer: Courtney, even as important as a daily big three is sometimes it’s hard for people to actually nail it down and do it consistently enough. But what do you think is people’s biggest obstacle when it comes to actually setting their daily big three?

Courtney Baker: That’s a really good question. I think for some people they’re just like, get it done people, kind of like my people, honestly. They get to their computer and they’re just like, “I’m going to just start checking these things off.”
It’s kind of that to do list mentality. And again, culturally, I think we’ve kind of gotten that embedded into what we do. And so I think it’s easy to just like get to your desk and then just start churning through things. And again, in itself it seems like that makes sense, but really that’s a great way to do a lot of things, but maybe not the right things. So I think that’s one obstacle is the tendency to just be like, “Okay, let me get going here.”
And then I think there’s on the other side, I think it’s hard for people to really believe that limiting and saying, “Hey, I’m just going to pick the three most important things that I need to get done and really prioritize those,” that that’s possible. That is a viable way to go through work, and I think people miss the power of the full focus system by not really buying into that. It’s really a mindset issue more than anything.

Verbs Boyer: And speaking of mindsets today, we’re going to be talking about how we can reframe constraints to help us get really consistent with setting those daily big threes.
Welcome to another episode of Focus on this. This is the most productive podcast on the internet, so you can banish distractions, get the right stuff done. I could see you like right here. I was like, “I want to look at Nick,” because now I can see just a glimpse into the dance parties are going at his home.

Courtney Baker: I think you just need to leave this. I think this needs to be the actual intro.

Nick Jaworski: Yes it is.

Courtney Baker: Yeah.

Verbs Boyer: Yes. Let’s get the right stuff done. It’s Monday, I’m Verbs here with Courtney Baker. Happy Monday to you, Courtney and happy Monday to you, Nick.

Courtney Baker: Happy Monday. You know, Verbs, this reminds me of that time you and I did a video shoot together with Blake and it was something for best year ever or the full focus goals course.

Verbs Boyer: Yes.

Courtney Baker: And we just could not keep it together. And we have lots of hours talking to each other and doing this podcast so you would think our professionalism would like-

Verbs Boyer: Right. Would manifest somehow. You know what it was? That was after months of not being able to be in the same room with each other.

Courtney Baker: Yes.

Verbs Boyer: So we were getting all of Blake’s fullness of his humor and all of that with the facial expressions, and so it really set the tone of the room.

Courtney Baker: We were off last week. And so we’re back. So I think we’ve kind of got some of that same mojo going again today. So we’ll see how this episode really pans out today.

Verbs Boyer: So wait, we’re talking about these daily big threes and how do we actually reframe the constraints that we feel like is set upon us when we have to really establish these and think about the three things that we want to do that are going to be the highest leverage items that we can knock out for a day. So we have two questions that we want to pose and I want to pose the first one. Question number one is what would need to be true in order to set and achieve my daily big three?

Courtney Baker: I love this question and it’s a really helpful in a lot of different context. I mean, and this really does work. This works in a professional setting. It works if you’re on vacation and setting a daily big three. If it’s on the weekend, maybe you need to spend some quality time on a relationship that needs improving. This question works. It really kind of takes us out of our limiting beliefs that we might have about something. And we talk about this on the podcast a lot.
So much of… We think all of our thinking is real and factual. And a lot of times it’s just our perceptions. And so what this question does is it takes you out of those limiting beliefs or those perceptions that you have to really help you paint a picture of, okay, what could be possible?
And right out of the gate, Verbs, I can think of one for myself that this question worked really well with. I was when it came to working out, I really wanted to work out. It really helps me, helps my stress level. Obviously there’s lots of benefits, but with young children, it’s really easy to be like, “This is not going to…”
I kept not getting it done. And so when I would stop and just say, “Okay, what has to be true for me to be able to knock this out on a daily?”
And some days I had it as my daily big three and it took me asking this question and being like, “Well, I have to do it at this specific time.”
If I just try to like figure it out during the day, like it’s not going to work. The way, once I asked myself the question, it made it really clear. There’s only one place this can go. And then once I was able to do that it was really easy to systematically knock this out over time.
Does that land with you or do you have any examples of like when this question has worked when you’re setting your daily big three?

Verbs Boyer: Yeah. You know what, and it’s funny because I remember often even Michael, when he is either leading a webinar or a conference of some sort, there’s always kind of this question of what needs to be true to dot dot dot. And I feel like it always applies to a bigger thing, like an annual goal or something like that. So for me, I think the challenge was to dial it down just to what needs to be true in a daily basis sort of perspective so I can just do these smaller things. And for me, I think what helped the most is really defining with clarity what needs to be done and the timeliness of it.
For me, if it’s a work thing, again, there’s multiple projects going on. So I could justify doing all of those little things, even if it’s smaller tidbits or contributions that I’m making to that project, but what really needs to be the one thing that needs to be done at a certain time, specifically on what day and identifying what those things are. So the more clarity I was able to get, it kind of helped me identify those things throughout the week or place those things throughout the week so I can know that this is the most opportune time for this thing to get done today. So let me place it as my daily big three and then make sure that it gets done because there’s going to be benefits to that.

Courtney Baker: You know what else I love that this question helps with is like once you’ve decided, you have the clarity of what’s most important. It makes it clear, like what has to be possible to get that thing done. Once you have your calendar in your planner, it’s like, “Okay, what has to be possible is I need to block a time to knock this out.”
And then you look over at your calendar and there’s no block of time. That’s where, when we talk about, sometimes it’s not a daily big three, it’s a daily big two or a big one.

Verbs Boyer: Yes, absolutely.

Courtney Baker: I think this question helps you see that, “Hey, it’s actually not possible to do what I want to do. It lines up with my goals. I’ve set out to do it, but it’s not going to work today. It might tomorrow, but not today.”
And so I think that’s really helpful, or another helpful way to use this question.

Verbs Boyer: That’s exactly right. And being okay without beating ourselves up. It doesn’t get done, but being as authentic and realistic as we can. Hey, if it’s only a big one, then you’re still being productive because chances are that big one is going to really make some things happen for your week.
Let’s go to question number two. What would setting a daily big three make possible?

Courtney Baker: This is a similar question, but it really helps reframe any constraint or obstacle that you may have. I think it kind of reorients yourself to what you’re trying to achieve, because hopefully some of these daily big threes tie back to your weekly big three and to your goals. And so what it can accomplish, what it makes possible is probably a really worthwhile venture. And so I love that it kind of keeps that in mind and some answers that you might have for this is it makes it possible to zero in on what’s most important. It makes it possible to eliminate tasks or processes that aren’t serving the bottom line. It makes it possible to end the workday at a reasonable time.
I think all of those are potential reasons, but everybody listening, you’re going to have your own things of what setting a daily big three make possible. I know for me and Verbs, probably for you, is it makes possible having that sense of fulfillment at the end of the day.

Verbs Boyer: Yes.

Courtney Baker: And not feeling like I still have 50 things on my to-do list that I didn’t get done. And I think that’s the worst. I say this all the time. When you actually worked hard during the day, but you end the day and you’re like, “I don’t feel like I got anything done.”
And what you’re really saying is, “I didn’t get anything important done.”

Verbs Boyer: Right. Anything done during the day and then anything done at the end of the week, which is even more burdensome or it feels like, “I can’t account for what I actually, the important things I got done.”
And I’ll say this too. I think when we talk about reframing constraints, there could be this idea that if I have to commit to three things or two things or one thing, and it feels like I’m blocking my day in. I’m putting it in a box and if this doesn’t get done, then I don’t feel as accomplished. But really there’s freedom in the constraint. Because if you focus on those one, those two, or those three things that you want to execute on that day, then that sets you. You’re not being held prisoner to all those other extemporaneous things that are floating around that are trying to distract you from just knocking those 1, 2, 3 daily things out. And so in that constraint, there really is freedom that you could experience and really realize for yourself, if this can be done on a consistent basis.

Courtney Baker: You know what else is a great answer to this question is when you set a daily big three, it makes it possible to say no to other people.

Verbs Boyer: Boom.

Courtney Baker: Because you can say, “Hey, yeah, I totally hear you. That sounds like a great project.”
And this is what I have outlined to do. Even if you’re talking to your boss. You can say, “Yeah, I could totally do that. But let me tell you what my daily big three are for today, and you can let me know how to prioritize that.”
So even when you’re talking to somebody that’s your supervisor or your boss, it works. But especially for your peers and maybe people that report to you, it’s easy to say no, because you’re like, “I got to get… I’ve committed to these daily big three. I can’t get roped into achieving your priorities or other people’s priorities. I need to focus in on what I’ve decided are my priorities.”

Verbs Boyer: Exactly. Especially when you have friends or family that are needing to move and they have a lot of stuff and they ask you, “What are you doing on Saturday at 11:00 AM?”
You cannot go to that daily big three page and identify and answer that question without having to feel any weird way about it.

Courtney Baker: Yes, that’s exactly right.

Verbs Boyer: Just kidding. Kind of.
So for our listeners, every once in a while we do a segment, which our producer, Nick, introduces. We currently have no idea what he’s about to ask us or say, but we trust him that much. So Nick take it away.

Nick Jaworski: Well, I get to edit anything out at any time.

Verbs Boyer: True. You hold the power.

Courtney Baker: Is it Lisa Frank trivia questions?

Nick Jaworski: No.

Courtney Baker: Is that it?

Nick Jaworski: No.

Courtney Baker: Dang.

Nick Jaworski: So let’s talk a little bit about simple things that you can do in your life that make a huge difference. And this area that we’re entering into is actually perhaps the planner’s in there. That’s simple, but does take work, like a bit more deliberate work. So that’s even in a different camp than what I’m about to talk about. And I’ve been wanting to talk about this for a while. So let’s talk to both of you about your dishes in your life.

Courtney Baker: Great.

Nick Jaworski: Let’s talk about dishes.

Verbs Boyer: Yes.

Nick Jaworski: So Courtney, tell me about how the dishes happen in your house.

Courtney Baker: Okay. Yeah. Well, we always start the dishwasher the night before we go to bed. And then first thing in the morning, when we go into the kitchen, we unload the dishwasher and then everything goes into the dishwasher throughout the day.

Nick Jaworski: Okay. Well, so that’s pretty simple. Do you do any washing of those dishes?

Courtney Baker: Like personally?

Nick Jaworski: Before they go in the dish washer?

Verbs Boyer: Before they go in? Yes.

Courtney Baker: Oh, well, yeah. I mean some things you got to rinse it out. That’s about it.

Verbs Boyer: Now. Wait, wait, wait.

Nick Jaworski: Verbs.

Verbs Boyer: Wait.

Nick Jaworski: Yes.

Verbs Boyer: You got to listen to the man’s question. You said rinse. He said wash. So to what level of aggressiveness are you making sure that dish is clean before it goes into the dishwasher?

Courtney Baker: I would say between a 1 and a 10, probably a 4.

Nick Jaworski: Okay. Verbs, what about you? What’s your process with dishes?

Verbs Boyer: Yeah, so currently, as you know, we have three young children in the household who are trying to train up to be responsible citizens. So recently my wife had established a rotation in which I play my role in being an enforcer of that rotation. So one child per week is responsible for the dishes. Now, do they always get done to the standard that we would like to see? Absolutely not, but practice makes permanent. So the more opportunities we give them. Yeah, there’s every once in a while, obviously if we have guests coming over or something like that, we’ll kind of chip in and hop in and make sure that what gets done, so obviously the house is presentable and that sort of thing.
But we do make sure that they stay on top of what is their chore for that week. And we tried it a couple different ways. We were trying to do one child each day of the week and they end up blaming each other for whose turn it is and all that. It didn’t work out. So we just said, “Hey, it’s your turn this week. Every day this week, knock them out.”
So that’s currently how they get done. I hop in, like I said. I can come in and pitch it when needed. But yeah, that’s how we do it in our household.

Nick Jaworski: Well, so everyone’s got… I love these processes. I forgot, Verbs, that you have said, I think before on the show that that’s the great thing about having kids as they get older is they’ll just do dishes. So that’s established cannon for Verbs.
But so for us dishes, now my wife is a baker. So not a Courtney Baker, just so everyone’s clear about that. My wife, she bakes at home. She sells these baked goods. So we have not just the dishes we’re eating with, but also all these other dishes. So dishes on dishes on dishes all day, every day. And the problem is that the sink is this place where if it starts to back up, suddenly your whole life falls apart. Like it really like-

Courtney Baker: Yes. Yes. Yes.

Nick Jaworski: Once, the sink goes, you’re just like, “Well, it’s all bad.”

Courtney Baker: It’s over.

Nick Jaworski: So it doesn’t matter.

Courtney Baker: Yeah.

Nick Jaworski: So last summer, maybe even before then, I saw a YouTube video. We’ll put it in the show description that said, basically you’re using your dishwasher wrong. And I was like, “Tell me more about this.”
And the answer was don’t wash anything, just put it in the dishwasher. That was the answer.
Hold on, Verbs. It’s coupled with another-

Verbs Boyer: I’ll hold my comments. I’ll reserve my comments.

Nick Jaworski: It’s coupled with another fact about dishwasher, pods. Right? Most people use those pods now you put in a thing. I know everyone at home is going, “Nick, this is crazy.”
But it’s not. The dishwasher pod skips the pre-wash cycle of your dishwasher. Right? You think about your door. You’ve got two little things down there.

Courtney Baker: Yeah.

Nick Jaworski: So that pre-wash cycle no longer has anything in it. So you’re getting 10 minutes of just water running through your dishwasher and then it drops the stuff and cleans out your, your dishes. So the suggestion is you get like a powder detergent. You sprinkle it at the bottom of your dishwasher, run a full cycle. So that means the first cycle through you’re getting rid of most the stuff. Right?

Courtney Baker: Yeah.

Nick Jaworski: Because that stuff is designed to cling to food.

Courtney Baker: Right.

Nick Jaworski: And then that first wash takes everything with it. Most of it. And then you have like an hour and a half or whatever of that other, of the fresh dishwasher hack clean.

Courtney Baker: Oh my gosh. I’m getting on Target pickup right now to order some powder.

Nick Jaworski: We have that. Yes. It’s harder to find than you think. But I just have to say this. There’s a couple exceptions we can talk about in a second. But people, we were trained. I don’t know if dishwashers are better now than they were when we were kids. I don’t know what it is, but they actually prefer the dishwasher manufacturers that there is food particles on your dishes. That’s how the detergent works. It grabs stuff off your dishes. So you’re actually going to get a little bit more effectiveness.

Courtney Baker: Yeah.

Nick Jaworski: And so you can just go from your dinner table to your dishwasher. And Verbs, that face, that was my face. That was my face.

Courtney Baker: Well, I would say that’s pretty much what we do.

Verbs Boyer: My thing is how do we know this?

Nick Jaworski: Okay. You’re doing a rinse. There’s a few exceptions to this rule that I’ve learned through the last year and a half or so of this. Like pasta sauce you kind of have to deal with. And just it’s just kind of be gone.

Courtney Baker: Right. Eggs? I feel like eggs, you kind of got to get the-

Nick Jaworski: That’s true. Yeah. You kind of have to do that. And then rice, you just wipe out if you’re having any rice left over.

Courtney Baker: I’m all in. I’ve moved to Tide powder detergent too so I’m literally checking out right now on Target. So I’m going to check this out.

Nick Jaworski: Okay, great.

Courtney Baker: And we’re about to time out.

Nick Jaworski: And then pasta is… Or no, sorry, not pasta. Salad.

Verbs Boyer: No you right. Pasta… Oh yeah.

Nick Jaworski: Salad is the other one that you can’t really… It won’t do very well. You know how it sticks to silverware and stuff. So I’m telling you right now, everybody we’ve told this to has been very skeptical and it is… I am not exaggerating when I say it was life altering for us.

Courtney Baker: That’s amazing.

Verbs Boyer: So you tried it.

Nick Jaworski: Like I’m talking about these caked on stand mixer bowls with batter and dough in them.

Courtney Baker: Yeah.

Nick Jaworski: They just go in the bottom rack of the dishwasher and they come out clean.

Courtney Baker: Can I add two things to this?

Nick Jaworski: Please.

Courtney Baker: Besides I’m all in and I’m doing it. One, if you are doing this, you have to remember to change your dishwasher filter, people.

Nick Jaworski: Yes you do.

Courtney Baker: Okay. Clean that thing out. Okay.

Verbs Boyer: Wait, hold up. There’s a dishwasher filter?

Courtney Baker: Yes. Once a month, you need to be taking that filter out at the bottom and cleaning that thing.

Verbs Boyer: Okay. Do tell.

Courtney Baker: Verbs, please your Lord. Take that thing out tonight and send a picture in the community.

Verbs Boyer: But wait. So here’s my thing.

Courtney Baker: Yeah?

Verbs Boyer: And I’ll have to agree with what Nick just said is they probably build dishwashers differently at this point in the game. Technology is developed. Like I don’t even view the dishwasher as this machine is going to wash the dish.
I view it as it’s going to sanitize the dish and whatever didn’t get washed in the sink first is going to get cleared in the dishwasher.

Courtney Baker: Wow.

Verbs Boyer: So we actually wash the dishes. We don’t rinse them. We put them in soapy. The dish is clean. It further gets sanitized and therefore you can eat off the dish and plate and fork with confidence.

Courtney Baker: We just saved Verb’s children. If his children don’t listen to this episode-

Verbs Boyer: No, no, no. I’m not going to tell them that.

Courtney Baker: They got to listen.

Verbs Boyer: No.

Courtney Baker: They have got to listen to this episode. We just saved them like 10 hours a week.

Verbs Boyer: Hey, I’m teaching them dedication to battle entitlement right now.

Nick Jaworski: Look, no one tell Verbs’s kids. That’s fine. I’m with you on the value of discipline. There’s other stuff-

Courtney Baker: I’m totally for telling his…

Nick Jaworski: There’s… Nope.

Courtney Baker: We got to teach working smarter. That’s what we’re all about around here.

Nick Jaworski: Look, they could do other things with that extra time. For sure.

Verbs Boyer: Automation. Yeah.

Nick Jaworski: There’s that. But-

Courtney Baker: Toilets. Let’s move on to toilets.

Nick Jaworski: Here’s the thing that the other last step, in terms of fully thinking about this. I think we all have the wrong idea of how a dishwasher works. And we think of dishwashers as being more wasteful. In fact, they do require power to run. That’s for sure. But we don’t realize is that the amount of water in a dishwasher is not that much. It is far less than it takes to wash it by hand. So I think as a child, I just thought water was just like running all the time. No, it like fills up its little tank.

Verbs Boyer: It’s an ocean in there.

Nick Jaworski: And then it just uses the same water the whole time. So in a full cycle, you have your quick wash and then you have the full wash and that’s it. So it’s better for the environment. You’re going to save so much time. I cannot tell you our life changed when I just said, “We’re not washing dishes anymore. We’re just putting in the dishwasher.”

Courtney Baker: This episode from now on, into eternity shall be referred to as the Dishwasher Episode.

Nick Jaworski: Yes. Please Tide up.

Courtney Baker: Can I add my last thing to this? Because I think this is like brilliant.

Nick Jaworski: Thank you.

Courtney Baker: This is a real pain point for people.

Verbs Boyer: You’re about to save marriages right now, Courtney.

Courtney Baker: The thing that if you can add to this, cause it was really powerful for me. These two things might change a lot of lives here today. At the end of the day, I always, I stopped thinking of it as chores, like loading the dishes. All that stuff is just like, “Oh, I just don’t want to do it.”
But thinking of it as just resetting for the next day. Like how do you reset the kitchen for breakfast? And I don’t know why that mindset shift was really helpful for me.

Nick Jaworski: I love that.

Verbs Boyer: That’s gold. Yep.

Courtney Baker: So we got a powerful dishwasher and a powerful mindset. We’re golden.

Nick Jaworski: Okay. If we had more time, I would actually send one of you off to your dishwasher right now to test another thing I learned about dishwashers.

Courtney Baker: Oh my God.

Nick Jaworski: That people don’t realize. This is very quick. You know how you can’t fit the bigger cups on your top rack and it’s really frustrating to you?

Courtney Baker: Yeah. Yeah.

Nick Jaworski: Most dishwashers have handles on the side of the top rack.

Courtney Baker: Yes.

Nick Jaworski: That will lower the top rack.

Courtney Baker: Yes.

Nick Jaworski: People don’t realize that. So if you go-

Courtney Baker: I did know that.

Nick Jaworski: And you pull it out and you just press on the sides of it, it’ll just like click down.

Verbs Boyer: Oh, to slide them down. Yeah.

Courtney Baker: Yeah. It’ll slide down.

Nick Jaworski: It’s amazing. So that made our life even better. So that’s my tip everybody. We’ll put a post in the community where we encourage people to try it. Remember I said pasta sauce is a real problem. Rice can be an issue. Salad. So all you have to do is just wipe them out. And if you can train your kids to just wipe out. Okay, just [inaudible 00:23:59]. Put it in the dishwasher. Your life, oh my gosh. It’s the best. So there you go. That’s all I had.

Courtney Baker: If this ends up being our top episode ever, I’m going to die.

Nick Jaworski: No, it’s great.

Verbs Boyer: Listener are like, “Where are you going with this? I need to run my business and learn how to use this planner.” And we are speaking of dishes.

Courtney Baker: Hey, win at work and succeed at life.

Verbs Boyer: And succeed at life. Thank you, Courtney. Swoosh, right there.

Courtney Baker: Bring it back around.

Verbs Boyer: All right. So today’s tip to level up your focus is somewhere in your weekly preview for the upcoming week write in a question. Here’s what we want you to write. Did I set and hit my daily big three this week? And then make two boxes: yes or no. Yes to throw back to grade school. Do you like me? Check yes or no. But make those two boxes and enter in whether or not you made it or you didn’t make it. And then answer the question at the end of the week. If you didn’t hit your daily big three, use that moment to explore what happened or what didn’t happen to actually make that a reality.
Thank you once again for joining us on Focus on This.

Courtney Baker: This is the most productive podcast on the internet so share it with your friends, especially all the wisdom from Nick on dishwashers. And don’t forget to come to the community and let us know. Is Nick crazy or not? Does he have the dishwasher debate on lock or not? We want to hear from you and we’ll be back next Monday with another great episode. Maybe on, I was going to say laundry machines. What is it called?

Nick Jaworski: It’s a washing machine.

Verbs Boyer: Washer and dryer? Washing machine?

Courtney Baker: Yes.

Verbs Boyer: Okay.

Courtney Baker: Another great episode, maybe on washer and dryers. You just never know. Until then stay focused.

Verbs Boyer: Stay focused.

Courtney Baker: I totally didn’t wait for you at all.

Verbs Boyer: It’s okay.

Courtney Baker: I just bounced on through there.

Verbs Boyer: Still here.