i’m a homebody. and if i do leave the house, i don’t like to rush around town to run errands. what can i say? i just need more buffer time between chores and activities so i don’t burn out.
unfortunately, this personality trait makes productivity difficult sometimes. but there’s help! here’s how the strategy of piggy-backing helps me multitask with little extra effort.
gretchen rubin, author of better than before: what i learned about making and breaking habits, calls it “the strategy of pairing.” in her own words, she “couple[s] two activities, one that i need or want to do, and one that i don’t particularly want to do, to get myself to accomplish them both.”
i call it piggy-backing, and here’s how it works.
coffee and returns
in essence, you can multitask AND be more social.
i love to shop. online, that is. i recently bought a nordstrom dress online and opted to pick it up for free in store. i just figured i would send my husband, who loves to run errands because he hates to be cooped up in the house or office all day.
but alas, nordstrom requires the cardholder to come get it herself. no exceptions! naturally, it took me FOREVER to pick up this damn dress, even as the event i purchased it for loomed near.
finally, as a pregnant friend’s due date approached and we wanted to set a coffee date before she sailed off the face of the earth on the s.s. motherhood, i suggested a cafe right next to the nordstrom i was avoiding like the plague.
i knew i wanted to see my friend and wouldn’t miss our date, so meeting at the nordstrom ensured that i finally crossed this pesky errand off my list.
the take away: when planning dates, have your errands list handy so you can piggy-back one or two of them and knock them out!
not so funny side note: the dress didn’t fit–like at all–and i had to go back a second time to return it! guess who aint a size 0 anymore and is having a hard time accepting it.
an hour of work before a girl date
here’s another example of how girlfriends can boost your productivity.
i planned to visit a friend after she got home from work one day. to get there at 5:00 pm, i’d have to leave at 4 because of rush hour traffic. instead, i left at 3, reached a starbucks near her by 3:30, and worked for over an hour while she finished up at the office.
by leaving early to meet a friend and exhiling yourself at a starbucks in an unfamiliar residential area, you’ve got nothing but time to kill.
on that particular day, i drafted a course syllabus for a last-minute class i was assigned to teach. done and done with a fun night of gossip and pizza to follow!
podcasts while walking the dog
my husband walks our 75-pound boxer mix, and the morning walk is the longest. he (my husband–not jagger) started to listen to some business podcasts on their walks.
it’s not that my husband doesn’t enjoy walks along the river. but by piggy-backing the podcasts onto the walks, he gets the extra satisfaction of multitasking. all before his morning coffee!
calling grandma from the road
if you live in los angeles, you probably already do this (hands-free, of course!).
at my law school orientation, some out-of-staters asked the student panel if infamous la traffic made it necessary to live on campus. but, one panelist’s thirty-minute commute was the only time he got to talk to his family.
between his studies, internship, general stress (and, let’s be honest, weekend binge-drinking), he’d never check in with his family otherwise!
in fact, i stopped smoking in law school because it took too much time to pack up my laptop, take the library elevator down, and walk outside. that’s exactly how you fall behind i tell you!
side note: law students are crazy.
reading in the bathroom
speaking of things that require you to just sit there… yup, i’m going there.
i majored in english in college. this meant that i spent most of my time on classic novels and poetry. i wasn’t up to speed on the latest bestsellers and must reads.
so, my roommates and i started to keep a couple fun reads in our bathroom. this way, we got to read girly and suspenseful paperbacks with, again, NO EXTRA EFFORT.
in fact, this is how i read the devil wears prada and one l: the turbulent true story of a first year at harvard law school.
what other ways do you piggy-back chores and errands? let me know how you get more done with less effort in the comments below.