Three Good Pockets: An easy method for daily restoration to avoid burnout

Grant Gurewitz
4 min readJun 28, 2020

Use the Three Good Pockets for Daily Joy method to find calm, happiness, and growth.

Photo by David Marcu on Unsplash

Updated March 21, 2021

A new poll finds that only 14 percent of Americans were happy in 2020. Ouch. It’s the unhappiest we’ve been in 50 years.

It’s easy to see why with a horrific pandemic that has no end in sight, the connected economic collapse, the biggest fight for racial justice of our time, and a system of politics that has us more divided than ever. It’s a lot.

I’ve been left wondering how I snuck into that razor-thin group of 14 percent. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve had plenty of days where I’ve been overwhelmed and shouldering the mental load of everything going on, but it’s been many more days of happiness.

Quickly into quarantine, I realized what separated my good days from my bad. My bad days looked something like this: I worked a busy 10-hour day and then walked steps to my living room and slowly sunk into the couch with beer and pizza without leaving the house all day. Or the other common one where I mixed in a little work with a ton of overwhelm while consuming social media and the news before I had several glasses of wine.

My good days still had work, still had several hours of sitting on the couch watching TV, still had drinking and some junk food on a daily basis, and still had social media consumption. The difference was what was happening in-between those activities. Those little pockets of time.

Find Three Good Pockets Every Day

There’s little you can do to fundamentally change the big boulders in your life like work, but you have complete control and influence over the pockets of time around them.

I naturally started compiling a list in my head of fulfilling activities that I could pull from. I realized that on my very best days I did three of these activities. Sometimes it would be a lengthy activity and sometimes it would be as short as 5 minutes after I ate my lunch and before getting back to work.

I began calling it my Three Good Pockets.

There is simplistic life-changing magic in carving out time for 3 Good Pockets daily.

Put Three Good Pockets for Daily Joy to Work

Three Good Pockets for Daily Joy is the injection of energy and control your days need. They give you time to clear your head and find more meaning in your day. It’s also completely customizable to your interests.

There are only three steps to implementing Three Good Pockets for Daily Joy.

1. List out all the activities that make you happy or some that you want to try out.

2. Find places where you can carve out time in your day. Trade out endless social media scrolling for one of the good pockets.

3. Start tomorrow and track your progress at the beginning.

My pick-list of 3 Good Pockets activities within my Notion weekly tracker.

My only rule is that I must single-task the activities meaning that I do not consume other media like podcasts, social media, or audiobooks while doing these activities. This allows me to be fully present with my activities and gives me time for deep thinking.

I use Notion to track my Three Good Pockets, but you can use a spreadsheet, a scrap of paper, a whiteboard, or just use your head. Notion user? You can copy my template here.

I build out a weekly tracker where I can track my Three Good Pockets with the list of activities.

Get my Three Good Pockets for Daily Joy worksheet free when you subscribe to my weekly newsletter on how to prevent burnout from work.

My weekly 3 Good Pockets tracker in Notion where I can select which activities I’m doing

I used this tracker to solidify my Three Good Pockets for Daily Joy habit. I stopped using the tracker once it became a habit since I don’t like the mental load of yet another thing to do, but it’s helpful to get the ball rolling.

The Three Good Pockets for Daily Joy method will help you find more happiness, calm, control, and time to think. It’s also easy to achieve since it’s just being a little more intentional about making time to do things you already like to do.

While you may not be able to control the big boulders in your life, you can find Three Good Pockets of time every day.

Hi, I’m Grant. I write the weekly Sustain newsletter about how to prevent burnout from work based on research and my own experience. It’s a fresh approach called Holistic Burnout Prevention which treats the causes, not the symptoms of burnout. Join me and let’s create a world without burnout. Subscribe >



Grant Gurewitz

Writing about how to quit burnout without leaving your corporate job @ Marketing pro, kayaker, and gardener in the Pacific Northwest.