Thursday, October 7, 2010

Two birds, one stone

Despite the fact that I teach my students lessons about how to avoid cliches (like the plague...ha, ha), I still think there's no more fitting way to describe the philosophy that guides my life these days than the adage, "Kill two birds with one stone."

I've already told you that I don't really understand the concept of multitasking. Honestly. I cannot divide my attention. Sure, I have perfected my peripheral vision as a teacher so that I can see those kids misbehaving in the corner even while I'm intently working with a small group of students, and I can call those little misbehavers out without batting an eye. Sure, I can have a seemingly endless line of students coming into my office, and I can almost anticipate all the reasons why each one is there and respond to their questions immediately and with precision. But I can't have a phone conversation and try to accomplish just about anything else at the same time (nor would I want to), and I can't switch back and forth between activities without screwing something up.

So, this concept of trying to "kill two birds with one stone" is really my saving grace.

How do I apply this concept on a daily basis?

Well, I try to save errands up until I need to go to one store to make several purchases. (Along with that, I try to map out my errand route to go to stores in a physical order that makes sense based on each store's location, saving time and gas.)

I went to a happy hour with some colleagues whom I a) wanted to see and b) needed to share some work-related info with. Mixing business with personal? Perhaps, but not really, since we are all connected through our jobs (and, of all jobs, teaching is a highly personal career).

Another teacher and I needed to make some big school-related purchases, so we teamed up and called our companies together, keeping our customer service reps on the phone all at once to maximize efficiency for both of us.

And you already know about how I try to apply this strategy to conquer all the stairs in our house through the up and down rule.

I know this is a strategy most of us adopt on a daily basis, but lately I've felt like it's been my greatest organizational strategy. Yes, it requires a little extra thought and a little extra planning to make the "kill two birds with one stone" idea a reality, but if I didn't make this strategy work for me I probably wouldn't get anything important done.

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