Welcome back to week four of our Indie Plot Twist time management clinic. If you missed the previous posts, you can read the first clinic post here and the second here. If you’d like to review the third post in the series, click here.
This week, I want to talk about something that was difficult for me to get a grasp of—finding ways to make one task do double duty.
We’ve all heard that we can improve our use of time by being more focused in the work we do and by finding the most productive things and doing them first and most often. I’ve described on this blog how keeping a 15-minute daily task list increased the amount of work I can do each day.
But one thing it took me quite a while to wrap my mind around was the idea that some tasks can accomplish more than one goal.
Let me explain by using a personal example.
I’ve discovered I can accomplish lot by giving a little bit of attention (15 minutes’ worth) to a selection of tasks every day. Allotting time in this fashion makes it possible to work on several different jobs every day and to move them all forward. That’s especially important given the number of projects I have.
But there are still days when it seems like all I can do is get through that list. There are even days when I don’t get to all the things on the 15-minute task list.
I’d been through a week or two in which that seemed to be the rule rather than the exception when all of a sudden, I made a discovery. Or maybe a better way to put it is that something I’d read and heard several times in the past suddenly took hold in my mind.
Why not do things in such a way that I could accomplish two or more of those tasks with one effort?
Take this blog post for example. On the day I wrote this, I was able to check off at least two of my daily 15-minute tasks just by writing the post.
The first item was, of course, the blog post itself. I finished writing and checked off “Blog – IPT.” Job done.
Because I wrote the post as part of my daily timed writing, I was also able to check that off the list.
So I spent 15 minutes and accomplished two goals.
Because the word count also contributes toward a daily goal of 2,000 words, the words I wrote advanced that goal, as well.
One thing I didn’t do was count the word count against both the blog and the timed writing. I had to choose one or the other. But the word count for each 15-minute task doesn’t count as much as just getting the task done, so that wasn’t a difficulty.
Another area in which I’ve found this idea helpful is in writing art books and articles. I do artwork for each and I’ve always kept a painting journal. Why not write the art journals so they can double for articles or books?
Is it always possible to double up on tasks? No. But it doesn’t have to work every time to be efficient.
Look for ways in which your daily tasks can be put to multiple uses. Find just one or two and you may well be surprised by the results.
It’s at least worth the time to review your list of things to do and see where you might be able to find ways to use existing work for multiple purposes.