You’re doing it!
Alright, that’s only half of the truth.
You have worked incredibly hard on getting your commitments and daily schedule whittled down to productive and constructive tasks. There’s a solid foundation set. Be sure to take a moment to celebrate the win.
With the exception of the increasingly rare time to relax and cut loose, you are spending basically no time at all on unproductive pursuits. Congratulations!
You’ve come so far, but now you’ve run head first into a new barrier. It’s your over-packed schedule. Now you’re discovering you’ve got what famous singers Nick Jonas & Meghan Trainor refer to as “champagne problems.”
Your to do list is currently swelling with responsibilities and activities. You’re using your daily schedule to plan for the commitments you’ve made to yourself, your family, and your community. Thanks to modern technology, this is much simpler than it was in the days of carrying around a binder-sized day planner.
Even with all the fancy new tools, devices, and apps, it seems there is never enough time for everything!
You’re feeling the pressure. It’s beginning to cause stress, anxiety, and possibly even some health issues. Unfortunately these symptoms are all to familiar. You cannot help but be reminded of the days when you were wasting much of your time and energy on unproductive pursuits.
It’s difficult to accept and deal with these new schedule and time management issues, taking into consideration all the effort and progress you have made up until this point. Again, before you tackle your to do list dilemmas, take a moment to really let sink in all the head-way you’ve made thus far.
You’ve become consistent. You’re working hard, and you’re making fantastic choices with what you invest your time and energy into. It’s true, and you know it. You really just need to remind yourself sometimes.
Each day’s schedule is so cram-packed currently that sometimes it feels like eating, sleeping, and exercise are the only things you can justify sacrificing. Deep down you know you cannot skip any of those. They are just too important.
You may also feel like you must choose which of all your many important to do list tasks you will allow to fall by the wayside. However, thinking about failing to meet your commitments to yourself and others only serves to cause more stress and dissonance. There has to be a hack or a trick that will solve this time management pickle, doesn’t there?
Many uber-successful and ultra-rich people claim that they get more done before 7 am than most regular folks get done in their entire day. And if you’re on social media, you are being bombarded by the images other peoples’ highlight reels. How can you not compare your bloopers to those folks’ reported wins?
Unless you have something to promote, or if it is your only way to connect with someone important to you, do not go on the social networks.
Visiting social media sites and apps is like taking two steps back with regards to your schedule and time management. You know there are more urgent matters to attend to.
The hack that will help with time management is to “Kill two birds with one stone.”.
Everyone is familiar with the phrase. Not surprisingly in today’s ultra-sensitive society, there are those who take exception to the violent imagery that the saying presents. That’s understandable, but the underlying premise is a valuable one in addressing your current schedule dilemma.
You may say, But I already tried multitasking! The two birds concept is not the same at all. Multitasking is actually two birds attention deficit cousin.
When one multitasks they are unable to invest enough focus in either task to complete them in full competence. Mistakes happen. Thing’s get overlooked. There’s loads of science and statistics stating that people cannot multitask effectively.(¹)(²)
So how is killing two birds different?
Killing two birds with one stone is not so much about trying to do two tasks concurrently. It is about finding multiple items you can do on your to do list parallel to each other.
If this sounds confusing, here’s two examples of multitasking: trying to read emails while driving, or trying to write a paper while participating in a conversation. How do either of these sound like they’d work out?
An example of killing two birds would be doing housework while having a conversation with a member of your family. Another is meditating while exercising.
It should seem more plausible to be able to clear your mind, focus, and practice deep breathing while running, lifting, or participating in martial arts, than it does to drive and text at the same time.
While multitasking requires having your attention divided amongst different tasks, the two birds method is simply a system for finding multiple items on your schedule and to do list and knocking them out together.
Killing Two Birds will lighten the load significantly.
This system will free you up to accomplish more, and possibly even have some bonus time for your guilty pleasures at the end of the day.
Each person is different. Everyone’s schedules, responsibilities, and commitments are unique. What works for some may not work for you. However, if you take a creative look at your to do list you should be able to uncover the tasks that can be grouped together. Killing Two Birds just takes some flexibility and an open mind. Luckily, these are things you’ve been diligently working on recently. (Don’t forget to stop and celebrate this as well.)
So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed by your schedule, or if you feel like time management is a jigsaw puzzle that might be missing some pieces, remember the two dead birds. Take a look at your agenda and find those tasks you can tackle together. A long commute is the perfect time to listen to an audio-book or a podcast with information you’ve been struggling to find time to learn. It’s also the perfect time to make a phone call and reconnect with a lost acquaintance.
You will be amazed at how much more of your day’s schedule you can complete if you use the same stone (time and effort) to kill two or more birds (your tasks). Good luck hunting!
(¹)Multitasking Doesn’t Work, Steven Nguyen PH.D
(²)The Science is Clear: Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work, Cyntia Kubu PH.D & Andre Machado M.D.