Pick Three: You Can Have It All (Just Not Every Day)
May 14, 2018
Randi Zuckerberg found that the secret to a more balanced life overall was, ironically, to live lopsided day to day—and she'll teach you how.
As an entrepreneur, investor, bestselling author (of Dot Complicated), and founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media, Randi Zuckerberg spends about 100 days a year on the road. Being a frequent panelist at conferences, she inevitably gets a question that is never asked to men on those panels: namely, how she manages to balance having children and having a career. It has to be exasperating for her, but it also led her to her to what she describes her "motto, her creed, her personal life force." You see, it was after fielding the question question of how she balances it all for "approximately the hundredth time" that she ditched the standard answer, shook her head, and simply said: "I don't."
It was then she first told the world that, in order to set herself up for success, she forces herself to pick three things to focus on everyday. Since then, "Pick Three" has become her guiding principle. Following that principle every day has relieved pressure and allowed her to be happier, more focused, and more successful. In her new book, aptly titled Pick Three, she writes:
By giving myself permission to focus on doing a few things well every day, rather than trying to be perfect at everything (and failing miserably) I've been able to redefine what success and happiness looks like. I've also unloaded a lot of the guilt I've been carrying around for years. Now I wake up every morning, look in the mirror, and say "Work. Sleep. Family. Fitness. Friends. Pick Three."
There are obviously more than five things on Zuckerberg's to do list, but she's found those are the main categories under which they all fall. Yours may vary. (Don't worry, she'll help you uncover yours.)
The quote Zuckerberg uses to open Chapter One comes from the brilliant Alan De Botton: "There is no such thing as a work-life balance," he opines, "Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life." And there are so many things worth fighting for. There are so many things that are simply worth doing well, worth excelling at, worth pouring every last bit of energy you have into. So how, exactly, do you balance that? Is it even possible? Let's turn again to the text of the book for a possible answer to that question:
Whatever it is you want to excel at—whether it's your career, your family, your fitness level, a personal passion, a specific project, your social life, anything!—you have to prioritize it by putting it at the top of your to-do list. Over and over and over and over and over again.
Well balanced? Ha!
Of course, you can't make every task the number one item on your to-do list, and some things will inevitably fall off of it altogether. The reality that struck Zuckerberg, that we're all confronted with eventually, and that she exasperatingly admitted in that moment on stage, is that we can't have it all—not every single day. We have to choose.
And that reminded her of what an admissions officer at Harvard said about the kinds of people they're looking for: first, the well-balanced, and second the well-lopsided. It is the well-lopsided that make things interesting. Randi Zuckerberg is determined to lead an interesting existence, so she decided to make a commitment to living lopsided. It has been, in her estimation, the best way to achieve any semblance of overall balance in life:
Maybe I don't have to give up anything! I thought. Maybe instead of being balanced, I should turn this whole thing on its head and focus on being unbalanced! Instead of trying to everything every single day, what if I look at the major buckets of my life (work, sleep, family, fitness, friends) and only PICK THREE to focus on each day? That way, I can do those three things WELL and I can pick a different three tomorrow. Over time, I'll be well rested, fit, successful, and cultured—all with kids in tow!
Zuckerberg is funny! (Speaking of the challenges she faced to get into Harvard, she writes: "I had zero connections or legacy. Instead, I was a theater nerd. Watch out, Ivy League, here I come—with jazz hands!")
What if the thing that's making us unhappy is the idea that we have to balance it all? If you're ready to let go, ready to seek more interesting challenges you can throw yourself fully into by living lopsided, Pick Three will provide the inspiration along with tips, tricks, and hacks to making it all work.
We have 20 copies available.