The Productivity Trick I'm Using Most This Week

Emily Schuman of Cupcakes & Cashmere wrote last week on some time-saving tips, and after reading her suggestions, I'm truly taking her number five to heart. It's called the Top Two Trick.

Here's how it works:

Identify the top two most important items you have to accomplish each day -- ideally the night before, and put them at the tippy top of your to-do list. Choosing two items that without-a-doubt will be done by the close of the day means your day revolves around accomplishing those tasks. Depending on how time-consuming or resource-draining those two pieces are of your day, you'll probably get other things done as well! This concept really helps focus your day on what is most important. If you know exactly what must be accomplished, at the end of the day you feel productive while minimizing those overwhelming thoughts that often come with a mile long to-do list.

It's a lesson in recognizing that life is not "all or nothing". You can get very important work done in a day even if it isn't every little thing you wrote down in a panic. For an added bonus, pick the most-involved two tasks of your week and place them on Monday or Tuesday where you have more focus and determination to make it through the week. Come Friday, your to-do list seems downright lovely (even if it's still far too long for anyone not falling in the superhero category).

Just in case you're still struggling to see how it works, take my today for example: I have to do a problem set for my one class and study for a final in another. Both will take about 4.5 hours each. While I am getting this blog post in, meeting with a client, etc., those two are taking the cake in terms of focus. I'll know that by the end of the day, I will have completed that assignment and studied for tomorrow's exam. And to be honest, no matter how stressful or long this day will be, I feel relieved knowing they are a sure thing.

+ What do you do to stay on track?

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