Three words, five stickies and seven months

More than half of the year has already passed, which means that it is a good time to reflect back on my choice of words for the year.

Focus, treasure and design.

Since I stumbled upon this three words exercise at the close of 2009, it has worked consistently well for me. It is timely to check back and see how the 2013 mantra is holding up.

Early in the year, I also found started the quirky “five stickie” plans for my weekends. The five stickies aim to bring a bit of balance, carpe diem and inspiration into my free time and they are also guided by the three words. I need to take care of those practical and organisation tasks (focus), as well as prioritising my physical and emotional well being (treasure) and ensure that I take time for the creative things which are important in my life (design). The plans works incredibly well, possibly because it is so simple. And five is not too big a number!!

My niece has also adopted the three word approach, and I am so inspired when she posts regularly on Facebook with an update on how the words are working for her. And this prompted my thoughts for a mid year (ish) reflection on my words.

So how are they doing?


This is long overdue!  I feel as if I have been floundering a bit, especially with my writing.  I also see the need to bring a bit more order into most areas of my life.  I am a bit of a butterfly – I flit about from one thing to another.  My attention is easily drawn by something new and interesting.  Ideas are not a problem.  Or perhaps they are.  I have so many that I tend to move onto an exciting new though as the inspiration strikes. I love ideas and where they take me.  I like far less the graft of shaping and working with them through to fruition.  And that is why I need to focus. I have a number of embryonic writing projects.  Some more embryonic than others, and I recognised to need to prioritise and organise these projects if I want to see anything realised!  Hence “focus”.  And not surprisingly this has been the hardest one to work on.  The five stickie plan really helps, as one or two of the five of each weekend’s stickies must relate to “focus”.  I have taken time to better organise my electronic filing and writing work, spent time sorting and binning papers and junk which I am incredibly skilled at amassing and I have taken time to plan and prioritise my main projects”.  A friend also introduced me to the Pomidoro time management tool and I find it works incredibly well for me both personally and professionally. I am much more focused when I know I have 25 minute chunks of time, and then 5 minutes to stand up, check email, make a cup of tea or even just to go to the window and look at the clouds!  Perhaps there has been progress then, I realise.


My second word is treasure, both the verb and the noun.  This has been painful, if I am honest.  I knew this year would be difficult and in March I spent the last week I ever would with my father. I cannot express how much I treasure that time and those memories.  They can never be taken away and always be cherished.  My break in Malaysia just a few weeks ago was a time to reflect, heal and recover and those days are also ones I treasure, holding the warm sensation of rest close and real for as long as I can.  Treasure also features in the weekly stickie plans and is a reminder to focus on my own wellbeing too, with time or space for the soul and self.


This is my third word, both about creativity but also taking control and being deliberate and proactive.  It relates closely to focus and I have again made sure to set aside time and energy for the creative side. For balance and harmony. I realise that the five stickie strategy (is this getting boring yet?) has worked really well to keep that focus.  I continue to enjoy learning and experimenting in both the writing group and Photography club here – pushing boundaries and really surprising myself.

Frangipani blossom, just landed

So I guess I am happy to report that the words are working their magic for me. And soon I will need to start thinking about three words for the coming year!  What a treat! J

6 thoughts on “Three words, five stickies and seven months

  1. Glad to hear your three words are working their magic for you! I started doing this exercise myself two years ago and I do think it does help keep a person “on track” – at least a little bit. The words I chose this year are focus, joy and balance. Let’s just say, I’m still working on them all! Thanks for your update.

    • Thanks, Nancy – yes it really does seem to give a guiding light for the year. I love your words, very similar to my own in fact in their overall message. I wish you well with them and hope that they work for you as the year moves forward.

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  3. Love this post, and it is amazing to check-in at the approximate mid-year mark. Your words are wonderful. I remember doing the three-word challenge once, and seeing this reminds me to do this again. I felt especially choked up when you discussed the word “treasure.” I love the 5 stickie idea. I might be trying that one! Thanks for an amazing post.

    • Thank you Beth – it has been interested to take stock a bit. The three word exercise just works so well for me. Yes, treasure has been a bittersweet choice. Apt for the year. Good luck with the five stickies if you try it, it’s another one which does the trick for me 🙂 x

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