Prioritise your work using the List of 2!

The List of TWo

Managing workload  is a topic that regularly comes up in our Smart Bookies member forums. A common thread is questions and suggestions around how to manage a busy workload. Being a bookkeeper invariably involves compliance deadlines, unexpected client queries, planned jobs not going to plan – you get the gist!

Leaine’s toolkit includes two practices that she has dubbed ‘Leaine’s Law of 2:

  • The Two Minute Rule
  • The List of Two

Let’s take a look at the List of Two.

Often we put off or avoid doing the things that we are worried about, are concerned about what others will think, or are in the ‘too hard basket’. Leaine’s List of Two involves:

  • Two top project priorities
  • Two important emails to write
  • Two phonecalls to make

Putting into practice

  • Prepare the day before: Make your list at the end of your working day to be ready for tomorrow. Tidying workpapers and your desk will help. Have any key files for the two projects to hand.
  • Turn off distractions: Putting your phone on silent or airplane mode, turning off email notifications, having your water bottle to hand all help you settle in to completing your list. Don’t be tempted to jump into something else not on your list!
  • Focus hour: First up use uninterrupted time on your 2 key projects or tasks. You don’t have to do the whole thing! Work out what stage you would like to get to for each one – be realistic. Setting a time limit may help. It doesn’t have to be an hour – identify what is your limit for really focused time on something. Leaine finds 45 minutes is about right – and often only needs 30 minutes – bonus! Developing this habit for the time of day where you work the best makes a real difference. For Leaine this is early morning – before other distractions kick in.
  • Emails: The ones we procrastinate on are usually because we are worried about the recipient’s response. You don’t have control over that – but you can manage how you communicate. Be professional, concise and clear. Do an initial draft and then review before sending. Leaine is a big fan of ‘delay send’ so that her emails get sent during business hours. Don’t write in the heat of the moment or dash off a quick reply when you haven’t read the original email fully. These 2 emails can often be follow-ups form the day before to confirm details from a meeting or phonecall. Writing these while everything is fresh and your notes are to hand is sensible.
  • Phonecalls: Leaine’s approach to when something is keeping her awake or she is continually worrying about something is to take prompt action – invariable picking up the phone is best. Have information and the key points you want to get across noted. Make the call at a likely convenient time – and ask if they have 5-10 minutes to talk before launching in! These days we spend less time than we should face-to-face. The phonecall my be to arrange a meeting, and by initiating the first step you are half way there!

Remember, the List of Two isn’t just about ticking things off; it’s about achievement and progress. By tackling your list you will become more productive, less stressed, and overcome procrastination.

Want to know more about the Two Minute Rule? – read our previous article.

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