Monday, August 30, 2010

Productivity Tip: Thinking in Two's

Sometimes, we can get a little overwhelmed, particularly if we have too much on our plates. You can't always control the amount of work that comes in, but of course how you handle it, and staying productive, are key to a happy work life. One great way I have found to getting a lot done and staying organized, is to think in two's, and to pair similar tasks together. 

For example, say you want to create your social media updates as efficiently as possible. Some folks like aggregators like Posterous in order to update all at once, but if you want to post new information and links for each site, try thinking in two's: Facebook and YouTube, for example, in one group, and Twitter and Linked In, for another. That way, you ensure a variety of content, and can easily organize it in pairs. 

Say you have a list of phone calls to make. Try and pair together ones that might be of a similar nature: prospecting or follow-up, for example, as one pair, and client or project-related and research calls as another pair.

For larger projects like books or reports, treat each project as having 2 basic parts: the outline/content,  and action steps you need to get you to the finish. Make a project folder, and keep all content related items inside the folder. On the outside, list action items needed, including contacts you need to call, research that needs to be done, or other individuals connected with the project. Seeing your larger project as 2 smaller ones, helps break it down and make it more manageable.

General errands can be a drain on your time, so combining tasks is always a good way to go. Organize your errands in two's according to proximity (combine the grocery store with the post office if they are near each other), and try to make dual appointments for your doctor or dental visits, so you can combine them into a half day. Household chores are also easily pairable by taking two smaller rooms at a time to clean and organize. When cooking, stay a meal ahead of the game by making extra, so you have enough for your second meal,which you can enjoy the next night, or save in the freezer for future. I find this works great for large dishes you can bake in the oven like roasted vegetables, and other foods that store well, like quiches, pastas, and soups.

Finally, when you are thinking in two's, think about giving yourself 2 hours each day for personal time, whether that means reading, exercising, writing, or doing whatever relaxes you. The benefits are well worth it, and you'll feel refreshed!

Any other productivity tips you'd like to share? Comment here!

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