Author: Jena Coray

A simple way to change your life in 3 minutes a day

3x3 exercise

Does that title sound really informercially? I don’t mean it to, but it’s totally true.

For the past couple years I’ve been doing something that, in just a few minutes a day, has radically shifted my life by shifting my perspective on it.

It’s the lens through which we view our life that determines how we feel about it, and I don’t know about you, but my lens tends to be negative. Down-trodden. Doubtful. Quick to judge and dismiss. It’s taken many years of time and practice and continual self-reminders to even start to begin to change my initial reaction from one of negativity to one that’s, not necessarily positive always, but at least less-judgmental. At least, there’s more space in between my thoughts and reactions now- most of the time.

I meditate and do yoga and take lots of creative/playful/free time for myself, all of which are important in terms of creating that space I’m talking about. But there is one thing I do in particular that I’ve noticed not only gives me that same calm and clarity, but also really lifts me up into a POSITIVE space, a SMILING space, an ALL IS WELL space, which can be a hard place to get to- it’s something I call my 3 by 3 list.

I mentioned this briefly in an OMHG chat and people seemed interested, so I wanted to share a little more info about this simple practice I do that has created a lot of benefit in my life just from spending a few minutes a day on it.

3 by 3 for 3 minutes

Towards the end of each day, or sometimes just when I think of it, I take a few minutes to write down 3 answers to each of 3 prompts-

I value about myself:

I’m grateful for:

I’m glad I spent my time today:

That’s it! See? Easy. Quick.


I try to think of different things each time. Some days it’s easy to list 3 or more things for each prompt. Some days it’s hard to even find one, but I’ve found that those are the days you really need to do this exercise most.

When you’re finding it hard to find anything of value in yourself, hard to be grateful for anything, hard to feel proud of what you’ve accomplished because you see only all you have left to do- take a few moments, breathe, sit with yourself, and do a 3 by 3 list. Find the goodness, it’s always there.

No matter how shitty I feel going into this exercise, I always gain perspective, breath and confidence by the end of it. It feels wonderful. Relieving. It can really help you re-align yourself quite quickly.

And an excellent remedy to zap myself back to life when I’m feeling extra down is to go back and look thru all the lists I’ve written before. It immediately reminds me of the things I’m so lucky to have in my life and makes me think, “What am I so worried about? Life is awesome. I’m good. It’s all good.”

By acknowledging and recognizing the moments that bring you joy, the things you already have now that are good, and how much you bring into the world, it immediately shifts how you think about yourself and your present reality, which not only brings more ease in the moment, but overtime, it starts to create some truly magical shifts.

This is a life-changing perspective-shifter of a practice, I’m telling you.

The best part about it is, the more you do it, the more you start to naturally look for things throughout the day that you’ll be able to add to your list!

You’ll find yourself thinking, “I’m awesome at this!” or “I’m so thankful for this”, or “I’m really glad I’m taking time to do this right now”, making a mental note to add it to your list later…. but therein lies the rub, and the awesome effectiveness of this exercise- it doesn’t really matter if you add it to the list, after a certain point, because it’s the fact that you’re noticing, as it is happening, that this moment, right now, is a good one. That’s when you’ll know the practice is working!

The whole point of the 3 by 3 is to begin to appreciate your life as its unfolding and relish exactly where you are right now.

The more moments you start to notice and appreciate throughout the day, the more the whole day feels like a good one as you’re experiencing it, and the more often you lay your head down at the end of it thinking, “dang, that was a really great day. Thanks, life, for letting me live you.”

And the more you start going to bed in that state of mind, the more often you wake up in the same one- open, grateful and excited to see what the day will bring, rather than starting out already dreading it.


Try this 3 by 3 practice each evening for the next 30 days, to get into the habit of it. Make a notebook in evernote for it, use an app, put it on your calendar, or use these free printable lists I made for you!

3by3 gratitude list

Download, print out on 8.5 x 11 paper, cut out and fill out! You can keep them in a cute little box, or clip them together, or hole punch the corners and string them together….Whatever you do, I suggest keeping your 3 by 3 lists together so you can re-look at them whenever you feel like it, and remind yourself of the goodness that is all around you.

Try to do it each day for 30 days (I did at first!) and see how your perspective, confidence and sense of happiness with your life begin to change for the better, and better, and better!

My DAY-to-DAY scheduling strategy to get things done


I’ve been trying for awhile to really figure out how best to schedule my days. Organization is my worst skill- I’m continually surrounded by piles, I have more unfinished projects than days left on the earth and I feel like I’m always trying to catch-up.

I’m realizing that a large part of it is because- I don’t allow myself the time to get organized. I don’t make time for it. I find little moments here and there, but I never create the long stretches of space I need to really get things done.

I’m constantly trying to fit a little of everything into everyday, but I’m realizing more and more, the older I get, that it’s hard for me to switch gears between activities, and it’s hard for me to fight whatever my energy is that day.

If I’m in the mood for playing piano and painting, it’s going to be reeeeal hard for me to concentrate when I sit down to work, because I’m ignoring that innate urge that says “play! create! be!” So, some days I end up just giving into the muse. I let it take me away for the whole day, reading and gardening and singing at the piano til the cows come home.

By the end of it though, there’s a lingering guilt left over for not doing what I was “supposed” to do, for not working on all the things I know “should” be done….

But I love those creative, free, not-tied-down to anything days. I crave them. Those are the days when inspiration comes in, where I just ride my flow, the days where I re-engage with that fire within me. They’re the kind of days where blog posts, like this one, just spill out, begging to be written instead of me having to try to coax them out.

So, I want to just allow myself days like this, even make it “a thing”. Something I do. Something I make time for, and honor for myself, because it helps my work and life in so many other ways.

I’ve decided, I’m taking a FOLLOW MY MUSE DAY each week.

It’s on.

Thinking about dedicating a whole day to my muse made me start thinking about how it’d also be amazingly helpful and lovely to have a whole day to dedicate to cooking and cleaning and organizing, etc.

When I’m in the mood to clean and organize, it’s hard to pull myself away to sit down at the computer and write back emails. When I’m in the mood to work, it’s hard to stop and figure out what to cook for dinner. So, why not dedicate a whole day each week for getting organized around the house, too?

I need a day to sit down and make a meal plan, go grocery shopping, cook some meals for the week, PREPARE, instead of figuring it out at 5pm everyday. A day to pay bills and send mail and organize my desk and keep the counters clean. A day to plant herbs and pull weeds and make sure the blackberry bush isn’t sneaking over our neighbors fence again, before she gets mad at us.

I’m taking a DOMESTIC DAY each week, too.

I also need a GET OUT THERE DAY each week to pitch, figure out where to pitch, write guest posts and query letters to magazines. A day to schedule my blog posts and get my newsletter ready for the week, to hang out on social media and schedule updates. A day to answer emails!! I need a day to focus on the marketing stuff, to seek out the opportunities and look for new doors and avenues, to make connections and reach out. It all takes time that I haven’t been giving myself. 

I need an EDUCATION DAY each week to catch up on all those books, e-courses, newsletters, articles, TED talks and podcasts I haven’t properly gone thru yet (please tell me I’m not the only one?) There’s so much I want to learn about and so many resources I want to go through, but I’m so unfocused and scattered that all those things quickly become yet another unfinished project. I need a day to focus on learning and reading and researching, a day to go through the exercises and lessons, do some “homework”, strategize, IMPLEMENT ideas!

I need a WORK DAY each week. Just one? Wouldn’t that be THE JAM? Yes it would. I feel that one full day to focus on “work” is more time than I’m giving myself now, actually, by beboppin’ and scattin’ around all these different areas, trying to fit a little bit of everything into every single day. I’m almost never totally focused on work- it’s just one stop along the day-train that keeps on moving. 

If I had one whole day to not worry about cooking or cleaning or marketing or emails or anything else, but got to instead just focus on the project at hand? On my clients? To schedule meetings and bring my whole attention to them? A day to finish the to-dos that keep getting pushed to the next week over and over? I imagine that’d be much more productive, concentrated time I’d be spending on “work” than I’m allowing myself now, and I think it’d pay off in spades.

In essence, it’s ALL work, really. I’m just not going to call it that, because it doesn’t feel like it.

My creative/muse day is when I’ll likely be doing a lot of my writing work, because when I’m inspired and open (and thinking about something else) the words just flow. In the same way, I also tend to get really great ideas while I’m cooking and cleaning, and have to run to the office to write them down or grab my phone to record the brainstorm. From now on, I think I’ll just let my writing flow in between my days, naturally. I’ll let it come out when it’s authentically inspired to come out, rather than “when it’s time to write.” My creativity just doesn’t work like that.

I’ll also be doing a lot of work on the “get out there days”, marketing myself and making connections and reaching for opportunities- that’s half the battle right there in terms of success. As creative entrepreneurs, the work itself is usually the fun part, but the letting people know about it can be tough and impossible to find time for! It’d be a huge asset to my business to allow myself a whole day to focus putting my energy “out there.”

I’ll also be doing a lot of work on the education days, learning about new ideas to integrate into my business, doing exercises and implementing new strategies behind the scenes. This is some of the most important work for your business as well, the foundation, the bedrock. It’ll allow me to re-connect again and again to the whys of what I’m doing, and the hows! That’s essential to staying focused and on course. When you don’t connect back to that foundational element of learning, of being new again- that’s when you, and your biz, stop growing.

I hereby promise to myself to plan my schedule around how I work best!

  • I will no longer try to multi-task all day long!

  • I will no longer feel guilty about doing the things that pull me away from “work”, by realizing that, in actuality, they contribute to and enhance my work!

  • I will allow myself to pay attention to and heed the direction my energy wants to flow in!

  • I will schedule my week in a way that allows me to focus on one thing at a time, so I can get things done!

I guess I’ll have to check back in with you after I follow this schedule for awhile to let you know how it’s going 🙂 but, I already feel a weight lifted, more room to breathe, just from planning things out this way for the week.

What about you?

How could your schedule be changed to increase your productivity, and flow? What kind of “days” might you want to create for yourself to better focus, and get things done?