(Double) stacking functions

A typical afternoon finds me outside working on micro-farm chores. But I’m still technically “working” with the various folks that I interact with for my day jobs.

Because I prioritize my Most Important Task in the early AM, stack all email midmorning, actual project work midday, and all phone meetings in the afternoon, I can get away with doing chores while on the phone. I’ve already prepped for those meetings that morning, and a quick review of any needed spreadsheet is possible via my iPhone. Unless I get too close to the chickens, no one has a clue that I am not sitting in some downtown office.

My team eventually learns this portion of my schedule, so invariably almost all of those afternoon conversations start like this:

THEM: Hey, before we get started, what are you doing right now outside?

ME: Well, I’m focused on you, but I’m also [weeding, sowing, repairing, hauling, creating, digging, hammering, measuring, transplanting] something in the food forest.

THEM: Huh, OK. Well anyway, about my sales targets…

And what about the in-person meetings? For my own day jobs, I’ve banned them as counterproductive. If I do need to be face-to-face with someone for a legitimate reason, I schedule it at a cafe near someplace I need to go for an errand. One bicycle trip knocks out both the errand and the in-person meeting.

Permaculture calls this “stacking functions.” But I did not learn this behavior from permaculture, I learned it from guys like David Allen and Tim Ferriss. I guess when you apply those kinds of productivity tricks to permaculture, you could call it double-stacking.