Conquer Reccuring Problems Using The 3 Times Rule

A few weeks ago, the guys from Asian Efficiency were doing a launch for a new Productivity product. As part of the launch, they released several teaser videos that provided some solid, free information demonstrating the usefulness of their product.

One video helped me so much in so little time that I have to share it.

It’s called the “3 Times Rule” and you can watch it below.



Quick version: If you have a problem that bothers you 3 or more times, write it down. When you have time, solve the problems on that list. As you clear the list, you clear your mind.

The concept was simple enough that I decided to start doing it right away. Here’s how I used the 3 Times Rule to solve my problem. My hope is that reading this will help you better understand how you can use it to solve your annoying problems too.

1. The Problem

The first thing that bothered me was my laundry, specifically my dryer. It bothered me way more than 3 times. I’d say more than 300 times over the last few years.

Here’s the deal.

I’ve been living in my apartment for two years. It came with a BOSCH Axxis dryer. This dryer has been a constant problem the entire time. The first time I tried to dry my clothes I did what I’ve done on every other dryer that I’ve ever used in my entire life. I pushed ‘Regular Dry’, a cycle that it says will last for 47 minutes.

Here’s what happens:

  • I put the wet clothes in
  • I push Start
  • Dryer runs for 47 minutes
  • The clothes are still wet
  • I push Start again
  • Dryer runs for 2 minutes
  • Dryer turns off

2. My previous (non)solution:

I’d researched the problem in the past. But in my usual rushed state I got frustrated and gave up on it after I didn’t find an immediate solution on my first Google search.

So I came up with a workaround.

Because the 47 minute setting kept turning off I stopped using it. Instead I started using a ‘Timed Program’ that only runs on Warm for 40 minutes at a time. Because it was only running Warm, it took about four, 40 minute cycles to get the clothes dry enough for my liking.

To complete this nearly 3 hour process I had to restart the Timed Program four times.

I did that for two years.
It drove me crazy every time.

3. The Asian Efficiency 3 times rule

Following the advice in the Asian Efficiency video I wrote the problem down on a piece of paper to be solved later. The next day I set aside an hour to figure this thing out once and for all.

I did a Google search and quickly found a forum thread about my dryer. I had seen this page in the past, but passed on it because there were too many responses, and I wanted a quick fix. But this time I was purposefully researching and had set time aside, so this time I decided to carefully read each person’s response, all the way through.

About six responses into the thread someone had posted the solution. Here it is:

Bosch Axxis 3510 Dryer Keeps Stopping:

The auto settings on these dryers uses a moisture sensor to tell the machine how to cycle. When there is no moisture in the dryer the sensor tells the brain to stop. European machines are built to only run until there is between 8–10% moisture left in the machine then they stop. The reason they’re built this way is to prolong the life span of fine clothing by leaving some moisture in them to stay flexible whereas American machines over dry clothes making them brittle and weak allowing them to fall apart in just a few years.

That was it.

My European dryer was drying the clothes but leaving 8–10 percent moisture. Because I am an American and am used to drying my clothes until they are hot and brittle, I thought the clothes were still “wet”. So I restarted the dryer, which thought the clothes were dry and turned itself off.

This wasn’t a technical problem at all. My dryer and I simply disagreed on the definition of the word “Dry”.

Armed with this info I did my next load of laundry. This time I put it into the dryer and used the Regular Dry cycle which took 47 minutes and walked away. When it was done I felt the clothes, and just like before they felt a bit damp to me. But understanding that leaving a bit of moisture in the clothes is fine and could actually extend the life of my clothes I took them out and put them away.

Problem solved.

4. The takeaway

The entire process of finding a real, permanent solution to the problem took less than 10 minutes. The big difference was that instead of applying a quick fix, I put the problem on a list and set aside time to solve the patiently research and solve the problem versus spending 60 seconds looking for an immediate answer and then giving up.

Not only did I solve the problem, I also learned about the difference between how Americans and Europeans feel about laundry. And now, I have to agree that leaving a bit of moisture in clothing during the drying process (versus frying them to the point of crispiness) is probably a good way to extend the life of my clothes.

Your turn

The next time you have a reoccurring problem, use the 3 times rule:

  • If it bothers you 3 times or more, write it down
  • Set aside some time for real, focused research on how to solve it
  • Fix it permanently and never worry about it again

And if you’re a fan of productivity and efficiency in general, these guys post good stuff all the time. Check them out at asianefficiency.com

P.S. I am also happy to report that after owning my Saeco, Odea Giro coffee maker for more than 4 years… I have finally figured out how to use the steaming wand.

  • djcrunk

    Already found a solution for that… good old plain sunlight. We call it “tendederos” where I live, heh, but I guess in the third world, sun & land are kinda cheap lol. Still great videos man, thanks for sharing, and your blog is awesome, real bad ass marketing gold. Please keep spreading the knowledge, have an amazing weekend.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      sunlight as a solution for what?

      • djcrunk

        The annoying dryers dilema. Kinda like what you did about the standing desk. Never really had to buy one and probably never will lol. But then again we have one of the biggest solar plants in the world, so there’s plenty of it to go around.

        Sometimes just taking advantage of your enviroment, you don’t need to throw money at the problem. Internet is also part of your enviroment now, and you don’t really struggle or have to pay for the knowledge, on how to fix a lot of problems. So if we have the “know how” literally at our fingertips, there is no excuse to not taking action anymore.

        And I find that knowing at least a bit about plumbing, electricity & car mechanics goes a long way. Cause you get to fix a lot of your day to day problems yourself, right on the spot, and you’ll be amazed by how freaking simple it was. And if you ever have to call an expert, you won’t get ripped off nearly as often. And lets face it, you won’t look as cool with girls, pulling out your new iphone to call roadside assistance than getting some grease on your hands lol.

        Cheers.

        • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

          oh gotcha! you hang your clothes out to dry. nice – that’s the way to do it.

  • drngo

    I love this rule.

    Example my standing desk is “wobbly.” It has been an annoyance for months. I decided to flip it over and tighten the screws. Stopped being woobly.

    Should have followed the rule lol

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      yeah man I let things go on for yearrrrs that bother me. this is allowing me to slowly knock them out one at a time. some just takes few minutes.