Lack of time – this is something that almost everyone wishes they had more of. But usually, it doesn’t come down to not having enough time in your day. It comes down to the fact that you might not be using your time to your full advantage. And that comes with being more efficient.
A lot of people talk about doing intentional work, work that has a big purpose for you. So you focus purely on the work that’s going to bring you money, happiness and satisfaction – everything else doesn’t matter.
A lot of people think they’ve got efficiency nailed. They manage everything, tick every box and still have time to do things for themselves. But if you feel like you’re wasting time or not using your days to the best that you could be, this post is for you. Yesterday, I shared a pretty epic post about being productive, so this motivational post seemed like a good idea to come next.
Today, I’m not going to give you a list of tools or hacks to help you be the most efficient you can be. To be truly efficient means changing your mindset. So this is how you do it.
Don’t Jump In Head First
I don’t usually like telling people what to do. But for this, I’m gonna’ have to, OK?
You NEED a morning routine.
Seriously. If you get out of bed and rush out the door, you won’t be productive. Successful people swear by morning routines and one of the key things to being successful is efficiency. Don’t leave the house within half an hour. Take time to craft your morning routine.
I get up at 6:30 and don’t leave for work until just before 8. That’s an hour and a half of pure "me" time. Do something nice with your hair, read your favourite blogs, make a really tasty breakfast. Let yourself be still and adjust to the start of a new day by doing what you want to do.
You know something I hate? Email chains. Going on and on about the same thing. I’m an impatient person, so when I start planning something I want it planned as soon as possible. I don’t want to keep going over it.
Lack of communication or bad communication is a massive time-waster. Checking your emails 5 million times a day – you don’t need to do that! If you’re really efficient, you take more time to consider how you’re communicating. Before you make a phone call, note down what you want to get out of it. Have a purpose for phoning or emailing someone. And if you can phone someone rather than send an email, do it. You can spend days waiting for a response from an email, but if you phone someone up you’ve got them there and then.
Take Breaks Often
And make them count. When you take a break, don’t just have a wander round your house or building. Do something that’s going to take 100% of your attention and switch off from the task you were just doing. Even if it’s just for five or ten minutes. Get away from the screen, write notes if you’ve been typing, cuddle your pets if you’re at home – anything that relaxes your mind.
Being efficient doesn’t mean working all hours of the day. It means being the most productive in the time you’ve got. Taking breaks is the best way to do that.
Feed Your Body With Goodness
In other words – keep away from the biscuits! I don’t know about you but when I eat a lot of carbs during the day I have a huge afternoon dip. So I hardly have any and save them for after my workout. Currently, my lunch consists of wholegrain rice, spinach, cherry tomatoes and cottage cheese. It’s so filling and it doesn’t make me tired. If anything, it makes me more productive because I’m feeding my body with good food.
I know how tempting it is to have a biscuit with your brew, honestly. But if you really want to get ahead with your work, eat all the goodness and treat yourself later.
Create a Schedule That Works For You
I spoke a lot more about this in a blog post yesterday, where you can also download a pretty awesome free planner. But you’ve got to create a schedule that works for you. Schedule tasks, prioritise and think about how much time you have in your day. Work on tasks according to that. Don’t put too many things on your to-do list. Constantly checking your emails, going on social media and refreshing your favourite websites won’t tell you anything new. And you’ll feel less productive because of it. If you feel like you’ve got a lack of time, think about it – could it be because you’re wasting time on less important things?
Make Sure Everything Has A Place
How many times have you made a note of something and forgotten where you’ve put it? Or in a morning when you’re looking for your keys or favourite lipstick – how much time do you spend trying to look for them? This instantly leads to a lack of productivity because your mindset has changed. You’re distracted and frustrated, which really affects how efficient you are.
I hate to break it to you, but to be more efficient, you’ve got to be organised. Make sure all of your items have a home. I used to have papers all over my desk at home. For my latest birthday, my mum and dad got me a pretty office tray and now the papers I have to sort go in there. Your files, your clothes and all your essentials – if everything has a home, you’ll be more efficient. You want to find things easily, right? Do this at home. Sure, it might get annoying have to put things away all the time. But it’s so worth it when you’re not wasting time finding it in the first place.
Give Yourself Downtime
We said it earlier on – being efficient doesn’t mean working all hours of the day. It annoys me when a company says they notice employees who stay later to do their work. But if you get it all done in the time you’re given, why would you say? Surely doing the work to the best of your ability means more than staying half an hour later just to impress.
If you’re burned out or tired, you won’t create your best work. When I’ve had a tough day, come home and do a workout, then try to do blog work in the evening, sometimes it won’t happen. I know that’s because I’ve got to cut myself some slack. Real efficiency comes from taking a beat and resting so you can perform at your best.
"I knew I could control one thing, and that is my time and my hours and my effort and my efficiency."
- Ryan Seacrest
What's your number one tip for being more efficient? Are there any secrets you can share with us?