September 21, 2010 at 12:22 pm #111447
I know this isn’t the most spiritual resolution in the world, but this Jewish New Year I resolved to become more efficient even though I actually have a reputation for being pretty well-organized. Still when I looked carefully I saw a bit of time bloat going on. Here are some things that I decided to do, that I think I actually can do:
1 – Food prep at night
Let’s face it, eating out is expensive and when you stop keeping track you can end up buying a breakfast sandwich, a lunch salad, and a dinner that you don’t even like all that much just because you feel crunched for time. Plus if you have kids in school you hassle over what they’re going to eat because even if they can buy lunch it won’t be all that healthy. By preparing (not cooking; I can’t cook) the next day’s food the day before, all I have to do is spend half an hour in the a.m. nuking it and packing it up. Everybody has wholewheat bread, a cut up bag of carrots or whatever, some rice chips…healthier and cheaper.
2 – Bundle tasks together
Do work things in a bundle; personal errand things in a bundle; food prep in a bundle; reading in a bundle; blogging in a bundle. Don’t go from thing, to thing, and then back to the other thing. Just transitioning from one to the next wastes time.
3 – Leave the TV off unless you’re exercising
TV is mostly a waste of time. And by saving it for exercising (download a TV show onto the iPod for example) you get yourself to do something healthy when exercise is usually boring, at least for me.
4 – Exercise when you first wake up
This is a time saver because otherwise (for me) I end up wasting time thinking about the fact that I should exercise, not exercising, and feeling bad. All of that is just dumb. Truth is it’s not hard to exercise, you just have to make the commitment. And that’s a lot easier to do when you first wake up than when you’re tired after work. (Related tip that saves money and time shlepping drink bottles: Drink water with ice and lemon. Cheap, healthy. I put mine in a Starbucks plastic cup so it looks fancy.)
5 – Stop blabbing
Random chitchat, phone calls, gossip…the fifteen minute introduction before meetings start…waste of time. Get going.
6 – Shop on the weekends only
I was running around shopping unnecessarily and it was eating away at my time. I am going to shop on the weekends only and just keep a list during the week. Shopping is a fun activity but not only is it a time sapper (because you end up looking around), it’s also expensive (as you end up looking around and not just buying what you came for.)
7 – Aldi
Aldi is small, cheap, and I can get most of what I need there. I wasn’t sure about it since Costco was the big name, but when I went there and saw how fast I shopped and low the prices were for really good food – I was sold. It’s not perfect (the plums were no good and I would like to see more truly healthy health food) but overall I was happy.
8 – Eliminate distractions
What do you really care about? What really has to get done? Do those things. Forget the rest. Not everything in your email inbox is important.
9 – Clean out your email daily
Before you leave the office every day, file or delete everything in your inbox.
10 – Write down your schedule and then look at it
Oh my G-d. When I saw my daily schedule I could not believe how busy I am. Including all family and work activities, including every day…I am booked solid. It’s a real eye opener. When you do that, you will resolve not to do things that waste your time.
OK – no more time on this post – please share your ideas on time efficiency, I’d appreciate it. Thanks!
September 21, 2010 at 2:23 pm #111467
Simple but effective – Lay out your work clothes the night before.
September 21, 2010 at 3:39 pm #111465
First off where is there an Aldi in DC or NOVA? Secondly I agree with the exercising in the morning even though its an incredibly hard habit to get into.
September 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm #111463
they’re not in DC but they are in Alexandria (I haven’t been to that one)
September 21, 2010 at 6:09 pm #111461
In the studio, I don’t do a lot of work that requires repetitive activity. I spend a lot of time looking and thinking and then try to find the most efficient way to get what I want, whether it’s making a drawing or a sculpture, or casting plaster or whatever.
September 21, 2010 at 7:24 pm #111459
I catch up on my podcasts while at the gym….Makes me want to go to gym plus catch up on some great podcasts (Harvard Business Review & Planet Money are my two favorites)
September 21, 2010 at 8:18 pm #111457
One of my favorites to use around the house (and I can’t claim it as mine, I read it somewhere) is to never leave a room empty-handed. If you’re headed from the kitchen into the bedroom, pick up something that needs to go into the bedroom or someplace that’s on your way, then do the same when you leave the bedroom. That way you’re not wasting trips in and out of rooms, carrying things that may have been set down and not put away, laundry that needs carrying, shoes, etc.
September 23, 2010 at 12:47 pm #111455
Terrence (Terry) Hill PHRParticipant
All great ideas Danielle! I make the most of my commute by bus and train (Metro), but reading for business and pleasure. I can’t help but see the majority of commuters simply sitting and staring into space. What a waste of precious reading time.
Also, another case of bundling, when I run in my neighborhood I also pick up any trash along the way. That way, I get a workout and make a difference to others at the same time. Which reminds me of another – when I volunteer, I look for events that involve manual labor. I get a free workout and contribute to society simultaneously.
September 23, 2010 at 8:21 pm #111453
Love the volunteering/workout tie-in…good one!
September 24, 2010 at 12:33 am #111451
Thanks everyone – this is great. Especially choosing workclothes the night before. I saw a funny TV commercial for Windex where the schoolkids slept in their clothes so they could just get up and get on the bus!
September 24, 2010 at 12:25 pm #111449
Funny you should mention this. When my son was young and into competative swimming we would have to leave for away-meets very early on weekends. I would have him put on his swimsuit and sweats to sleep in so in the morning, after the car was loaded, all I would have to do was lead his half-asleep body out to the car, lean the seat back and seat belt him in. He’d sleep the whole drive to the meet. As a single mom it was a real time-saver!
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