"You're so productive!"
"With three kids and a business to run, how do you find the time?"
People say this to me all the time. For a long time I wasn't sure how to answer. I would start to say, "Oh no, not really," but that wasn't true. The truth is I actually enjoy being a really productive person. I love to get stuff done.
I'm someone who gets a lot done in a day and it’s not because I work faster than anyone else, it’s because I work efficiently.
The One Touch Method
I want to focus on one efficiency method in particular that helps me get more done every day, both as a business owner and as a mother. This is a method referred to as “one touch” and I didn't invent it, but I have figured out ways to apply it my tasks each day and it’s really a simple concept. Here’s how it works: when you touch something, complete it. Touch it once and see it through to the end.Apply it to Running a Household
One touch helps me run an efficient household. Pick the cereal bowl up from the table, rinse it, and put it into the dishwasher. If I've picked it up, I've touched it which means I should finish working with it completely. This way dishes go from the table to their final destination, and not into the sink sink where I'd have to wash them later.
In fact (and this is slightly off topic, but relevant to making time for my own creativity) I do everything under my power to get all household tasks accomplished while my kids are home and with me. Folding laundry, cleaning, making calls, prepping dinner, I strive to get all of these tasks started and finished while I’m being mom. Later, when I’m being an artist or a business person, I don’t need to address these tasks again. I'm by no means perfect in this aim, but most of the time I succeed in completing "mom" tasks while being mom.
Apply it to Running a Business
I apply one touch to my creative business, too, especially when it comes to email. Whenever possible, I respond to email right away. There’s no worse feeling than knowing that you’ve got a backlog of 200 emails waiting for your attention. I’ve found that almost all email can be addressed the same day you get it. Your response may not be absolutely perfect, but you responded and most of the time that’s more important than perfection.
One touch is useful for staying organized, too. If you pick up a piece of paper, don’t just put it back where it was. File it, or mail it, or read it and throw it away. You’ve touched it once so now you need to make a decision about it’s final destiny.
One Touch Helps You Follow Through
Using the one touch method helps you to build a reputation as someone who follows through. Kids appreciate that and so do business colleagues. Those pants you promised to shorten for the six-year-old? Instead of folding them and putting them down next to your machine, sit down and shorten them while they are in your hands. Done! She'll be so thrilled to wear them to school tomorrow. And very often companies turn again and again to a particular freelancer not because they are necessarily the most talented, but because they are reliable. Following through makes people happy.
Efficient people are productive and meet their deadlines, they respond to emails and get back to you promptly. Efficient people follow through on their promises and are dependable. As a magazine editor, would you rather work with an artist who was incredibly talented but was flaky and unreliable, or an artist that consistently produced good work on time and up to your specifications? Make it easy for people to hire you twice.
Now You've Carved Out Time To Be Creative
The best part of one touch is that it affords you free time to be creative. Don’t spend your evening loading the dishwasher. Don’t pull an all-nighter before a big assignment is due, leaving you wiped out the next day. Work efficiently and find the time to do what you love.
Do you consider yourself to be an efficient person? What gets in your way? And if you have a particular technique that helps you get more done in a day I'd love to hear about it!