By working efficiently, you can accomplish your tasks more quickly, and have more time for the activities you want to do. Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphots.net
Today’s world is almost indisputably more fast-paced and has more jobs, both at work and home that are require people to juggle these responsibilities. Wouldn’t it be great if we worked efficiently enough so that we have more time and energy to spend doing the activities we enjoy?
Here are some of my thoughts regarding how we can maximise our efficiency and save time.
The first step, and this is worth taking time to consider because it is how we will decide to know what our priorities are. If we rush through this consideration, perhaps deciding our most important tasks are what others are doing, for example, we will short-change ourselves by not spending our time on our authentic values.
However, once we are clear what are priorities are, it seems sensible that they are the tasks that we decide to accomplish first. Especially if others’ approval is of great importance to you, or you lack the self-confidence to trust your own intuition, you need to be careful that your priorities are not what somebody else believes they should be.
Clarification of priorities (or values) saves time because, upon reflection, we may realise that some of the items on our daily planners is not that important, even completely unnecessary – for us, anyway.
A disclaimer regarding being confident of your priorities is that if you are not a single man or woman, but have a partner and/or children, it is natural what you choose to do will be largely impacted by the kind of relationship you are trying to nurture with them.
A task that many people find time-consuming perhaps even in a wasteful way is travel. If you commute by car, travel long distances and have to contend with traffic, unfortunately this can be undesirable with regards to being efficient. However, for those who drive, have you considered trying public transport? Especially with trains, they are designed to travel in as a direct way as possible, and traffic on railway lines is not a problem. Another option especially if you walk to work, or to the shops, is consider riding a bicycle instead.
Many people find that keeping their place acceptably tidy is quite time-consuming. A way to overcome this is best illustrated by an example. I always start in the kitchen, doing the dishes. However, as I make my way through the tasks that constitute cleaning the kitchen and the lounge, which are in the front part of my unit, I find things that belong in the bedroom, or bathroom say an odd shoe or a hanger, dirty laundry! Rather than to-ing and fro-ing from the kitchen/lounge to the bedroom/bathroom, I put all the items that belong in the latter category at the door of the bedroom. That way I can deal with them more efficiently.
Related to this is accomplishing the tasks we have set ourselves to achieve for the day which involve going to several locations – perhaps the shopping centre, the doctor, visiting. The tasks that share the location of the closest vicinity to each other will save, say, going shopping and then realising the doctor’s is only ten minutes away, and you have gone back home between things you needed to accomplish for the day.
Another important aspect I considered when thinking about ways to save time, is that being more efficient is not necessarily synonymous with being hurried. When you are frenetic/anxious, you are not saving time. Rather it is likely that you are not concentrating very well, because you are uptight.
What and how we eat is another area in which we can save time. For example, cooking ahead for several meals will take care of dinner for the next few days.
Planning is essential to save time. Not only plan what you will do, but when you will do it, and how long you estimate the task will take. If we don’t have our schedules full enough, we won’t be achieving all that we are capable of. More commonly we stuff our calenders full of to-dos. This leads us to be rushed, accomplishing tasks superficially but not more efficiently. Also, plan to have frequent breaks between tasks – at least five minutes rest for each forty-five minute period of work you do. When you feel refreshed, you work more efficiently.
So work smarter, not harder, accomplish more in less time, and have more time for all those things you want to do!