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Boost your efficiency: Game-Changing Hack for Busy Professionals!

Are you tired of feeling overwhelmed by looming deadlines and constant interruptions? Do you find yourself staring at a blank page, unable to make significant progress on important tasks? If so, this blog post is for you.

Digital illustration with the puzzle pieces representing different aspects of making a travel plan. The pieces include text like 'Flight Booking', 'Hotel Reservation', 'Itinerary', 'Packing List', and 'Local Cuisine'.
Intermediate packets of a travel plan

Picture this: you've set aside time to tackle that important project—maybe it's crafting a pitch for your new product or writing a PRD or  finally starting that novel you've been dreaming about. But as you sit down to work, the words refuse to flow, and progress is slow and tedious. Suddenly, your phone buzzes with a notification, your kid wants a snack right away and at the end of the hour very little progress has been made. Sound familiar?

If your creative process feels more like a comedy of errors than a smooth production, you are not alone! I've been there countless times myself, struggling to find my footing amidst the chaos of back-to-back meetings, familial responsibilities, and the ever-present pressure to deliver results. But thanks to a gem I stumbled upon in Tiago Forte's book, "Building a Second Brain," I've discovered a game-changing approach which is  simple yet effective :  the Intermediate Packets method.

Simple mindset shift - Intermediate packets

The idea of Intermediate Packets stems from Tiago Forte's book, "Building a Second Brain," and it's a mindset shift that can help you break free from the shackles of writer's block and procrastination. Instead of viewing creative tasks as insurmountable mountains to climb in one go, think of them as assembling smaller "packets" of work—chunks that contribute to a larger project. So, what exactly are these Intermediate Packets? They're smaller, manageable pieces of work that form the building blocks of larger projects. Whether it's jotting down a paragraph, sketching a diagram, or capturing a quote, each packet contributes to the greater whole.

Let's bring this concept to life with a few recent examples in my own life:

notes showing travel plan for europe trip

  1. I’m currently planning  a 3 week family trip to some European cities this summer. Traveling with a 8 year old and 18 month old is not for the faint of heart and needs considerable planning.  As  I watch youtube videos / read about other’s experiences - I collect ideas and notes in my phone's app, forming a repository of potential itinerary items, ideas for keeping toddler entertained on plane etc As the date draws near I have a ready list of ideas to get started on . Similarly, maintaining a reusable packing list saves time and reduces stress before each journey. 

  2. As I come across interesting insights in books and videos , I capture these (See my previous blog on details). When it comes to creating content like book reviews, I draw from these packets. Expanding on previously captured ideas is way easier than starting from scratch.

  3. At work, when creating a product strategy pitch, I will create the outline on a day then work on individual aspects on other days before assembling it all together.

My tool of choice where I capture all this is my notes app on my phone. It's important you choose something that is handy and easy to search through at a later point in time. When I have a new project / idea I start a note on the app. I will periodically go and add things into that note over time. Then I set up some time to piece / assemble things together - all I have to do is search for the note e.g. trip or packing list or blog idea etc and pull up the relevant one and build on it.

Why intermediate packets boost efficiency

Embracing the Intermediate Packets mindset brings several benefits:

  1. Firstly, it makes you interruption-proof, as you focus on one small packet at a time.  Also it enables progress in any time frame, fitting tasks into even the busiest schedules. So you only  have 15 minutes in between your meetings ? Use it to create an outline for the deck due next week or brainstorming an outline for that blog post. 

  2. Secondly, embracing the Intermediate Packets mindset creates the perfect conditions for flow—a state of deep focus and productivity where work becomes effortless and enjoyable. I’ve written about flow before in another blog post.

  3. Most importantly, imagine being able to effortlessly assemble entire projects from a library of pre-existing packets, freeing yourself from the burden of starting from scratch every time.By shifting your focus from creating everything from scratch to acquiring or assembling components, you'll streamline your workflow and reduce stress while maintaining high-quality output.

So, are you ready to boost your efficiency and unlock your full potential? Incorporate the Intermediate Packets method into your routine and experience the difference for yourself. Say goodbye to writer's block and hello to productivity and enjoyment :) 

Try it out and let me know what you think!

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