Using both hands

I know those of you with your minds in the gutter will giggle and want to add “in bed” to the title of this article, but let’s move past that for now. You can giggle later.

Using both hands allows you to be far more effective and efficient when you are doing a variety of tasks. One example is when you are trying to flip through papers to separate them or trying to find a particular page, you will handle this task much faster if you involve both hands rather than one.

You may think this is pretty obvious: of course it makes sense that using two hands is better than one, duh. But have you ever watched yourself throughout the day to see how many hands you are actually using? Odds are you are using only one hand when you could use two quite a bit.

The first time I was taught this concept was at my first job: a stocker/basket returner at a grocery store called Super 1. It has long since shut down (not surprising, as I lasted only 3 weeks due to crazy horrible management), but I did learn one very valuable lesson from my short time there. One day when I was putting cans on shelves, one of the more experienced employees looked at me and said “use both hands!” I looked at him and said “what?” Then I looked at myself and I realized that I was moving at half the speed he was because I was just stocking the shelf with one hand. Initially I thought that using both hands all the time might hurt my back since it would have to support me a greater percentage of the time if I wasn’t using my second-hand to hold myself up in weird angles, but I found that my back was unaffected (and perhaps slightly strengthened due to having to work harder some of the time). Now whenever I’m loading or unloading items (including putting my items on the grocery store conveyor belt, or loading those same groceries into my trunk), I try to remember to use both hands. Doing this invariably makes the process much faster.

You may believe initially that if you are trying to use both hands, you won’t be able to focus as well on what each hand is doing. For example, if you are locking your door with one hand, you may believe the other hand needs to wait to pull your scarf from your coat pocket. However, I would argue that humans are incredibly adept at using both hands at the same time without the need for extensive focus on the actions of both at all times. A great example of this is how you can reach for a drink with one hand while writing with the other, take a sip, and put it down all without breaking your train of thought from the writing.

Other examples of when it’s better to use two hands than one include unloading the dishwasher, cooking, typing on a keyboard while using your mouse (every serious gamer will know this already), doing craft type projects, cleaning your house, doing repair work, using landscape mode to enter information in your iPhone or other smartphone with BOTH thumbs rather than typing only one thumb, and pretty much any other physical activity that involves your hands.

The important thing I want you to take away from this article is this: start watching yourself, and realize when you’re only using one hand when you could be using two. After you make that realization, try using both hands during these times and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much more effective you become.

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