8 Quick Ways to be Awesomely Efficient

There is probably quite a bit of irony to the fact I’m writing about being efficient, while currently being my least-efficient-self. 

I’m normally an efficient, organised person.  However, since the last 4 months have been pretty rough, I lost my edge.

So this article is to remind myself about what I SHOULD be doing and to give all you readers out there who may struggle with productivity and efficiency, a little boost too 🙂

8 quick ways to be awesomely efficient

Let’s jump right in…

01 – Take Breaks

Take a break.  Image from Pixabay

I love how I’m starting with something that almost sounds counter-productive.  🙂 But trust me, breaks are your friend.

If you try and do too much in one sitting, you can find yourself struggling more.  It becomes like wading through quicksand (Not as fun as it sounds).

So take SHORT regular breaks.  The key word there is “short”.  Don’t do 10 minutes work then give yourself a 30- minute break.

Instead, maybe stop every 30 minutes, stand up, do a stretch and go grab a glass of water then come back to it.

Which leads to…

02 – Hydrate

Glass of water.  Hydrate.  Image from Pixabay

We dehydrate pretty quickly it seems so you want to stay hydrated.  Not drinking enough water can lead to headaches, sluggishness, foggy head and fatigue.  So replenish those cells with cool glasses of water.

If you time it to coincide with your breaks, you can drink a pretty decent amount throughout the day and you will seriously start noticing the difference.

Of course, I’m not a monster, throw in the odd tea, coffee or other beverage of your choice, but let’s not ONLY reach for the caffeine- and/or sugar-loaded options.

It doesn’t take much to drink some fresh water and it’s a quick way to stay healthy.

03 – Get Moving

Get moving. Exercise.  Image from Pixabay

Another task you can do on your break is move.  Get out of the chair, go for a short walk, run up and down the stairs, do some jumping jacks or just wander around the garden.

In my 5 minute breaks, I do yoga poses.  By the end of the working day, I’ve done a full session. 🙂

Even small amounts of movement are something.  Though if you can throw in at least 20 minutes of exercise (even if it’s just walking) a day, then that’s something.

It gets the oxygen moving through your blood, great for the mind, clears your head.   It’s great for brainstorming too!  You’ll be surprised at how solutions to problems can come up when you take a walk and get some fresh air.

04 – Tidy your desk

Tidy your desk.  Image of messy desk from Deposit Photos

Now I’m all for a messy desk.  When I work, my desk is covered in post-its, pens, my diary, a plethora of stationery, some random things I’m working on, data sticks, the odd stone… (I like to collect them when I go to the beach).

A working desk is a messy desk.

However, I always tidy my desk when I finish for the day.  Starting fresh with a clean desk is a great motivator.  You already have all your supplies ready and you can jump straight in.

If you leave it messy you can lose time shuffling things about looking for that note you needed, or the data card with the new picture you wanted to post.

05 – Keep things close by

Keep important items close by.

If you use things daily, then keep them close (and organised).  I’m shocked to say I’ve met people who use things like pens and tape every day but store them across the room.  It’s madness!

Unless you physically have no room… in which case, that’s another problem that needs addressing, keep your important items close.

I use coloured pens, my diary, sticky tape and my stapler every day.  I also need envelopes and stamps, customs forms and airmail stickers.

All of these are either on my desk in their own dedicated areas or in the drawers under my desk, organised so that at a quick glance I can see if I’m running low.

You can lose valuable time if every time you need to print you have to wander around the room to find your paper.  Or when you need to make a note, go searching for more post-its because you don’t leave a stash on your desk.

06 – Make a Plan

Make a plan. Woman writing. Image from pixabay

Either the night before or the morning, make a plan for your day.  Try to be specific and be careful not to overfill it.

One issue with writing a plan the day before, I used to find, was that I would write it when I was feeling full of energy and put down 20 tasks.  Then I’d get up, see the list and be deflated.  Usually managing barely any.

However, if I wrote a small list, say 3 items.  I’d usually do them without much hassle and that would keep me motivated to do more.

If I didn’t plan any part of my day, I could lose hours “faffing” as I thought about what needed doing, checked emails, tinkered on social media and suddenly I’d have lost loads of time.

Which leads to…

07 – Stick to your plan

Stick to your plan. Checklist. To do list. Image from Pixabay

For the longest time, I allowed non-urgent things to slip in and spoil my plan.  I’d cave to family members who would ring during my workday to “chat” or ask for advice that could have waited until the evening.

I would let myself be drawn into adding new tasks to my list before I had completed the ones I had specifically set.

Now I have a “Later” list.  I add non-urgent, non-work tasks to this list so I don’t forget them but so that they are not constantly in my eye-line by being on my current to-do list.  Then if I find myself with blocks of free time, I visit that list and take a few from it.

08 – Let go

Let it go! Image from pixabay

By that I mean Let Go of what’s holding you back.

For example, what I did was I went through my massive list of “things I want to do” and slashed it.  I took a long look at where I was, and where I wanted to be and then let go of all these things that were filling up space for things I DID want to do.

I have a lot of interests and want to do so many things.  But in reality, I can only do so many things with the (hopefully long) time I have left.

But I can spend so much time looking over my list of things I want to do, I get nothing done.

Now, this doesn’t mean I cut away my bucket list.  After all, a bucket list should be fun and interesting and something you do over a longer period of time.

Whereas, we seem to hoard the notion of doing random things or agreeing to things we don’t really want to do and fill our lives with it.  Often at the expense of what we actually want to do.

For example, I recently removed “re-organise the Yule decorations” from my excessively long to do list.   I can get a little crazy about things and I really felt this was a necessary task.

It’s not.

So instead of having it lingering around, constantly pricking at my mind as “something that needs to be done”, it’s gone.

I give myself permission to consider what’s a priority in my life and I’m aiming for doing that most of the time.  Hence why some of my social media platforms have either fallen silent or are barely used.

We often want to do everything, but in doing that, we can lose time for what we truly love.  For me, that’s spending time with my partner and our pets, writing, running my business, blogging and working on fun new projects.

What are your tips for being more efficient?  Drop them in the comments below.

Share your thoughts in the comments below :)

Happy writing

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37 thoughts on “8 Quick Ways to be Awesomely Efficient

  1. All wonderful advice! I do most of this, though sometimes I lose my way. The only thing I do the least of is letting go… easier said than done, but it needs to be done, lol.

  2. Great list Ari, it’s clear and motivational. It’s end of year accounts time, we’re finally getting the keys next fridays and everything on my to do list has suddenly mounted. I’ll remember to take small breaks and keep my list small.

    • Thanks for reading, Bryan. Apologies for the delay in replying, I’ve fallen behind a little recently, just trying to catch up on comments then start catching up on blogs! Where does the time go?

      Yes, going outside is so important. I find that now I work from home, it’s even more important as if I’m not careful, I can end up closeted away for days at a time. Not healthy.

  3. I like no.1 the most. Yes, sometimes I abuse it, but I’ve learned that my body needs what my body needs, and it’s best to just listen to it rather than force something and then fail that much more.

    No. 6 has become important to me in the past few years, too.

    Nice list.

    • Thanks so much for reading. Apologies for the delay in replying, I’ve fallen behind a little recently. Yes, I think no 1 is the most important and the one we often ignore, hence why I thought it best to start off with that one 😀

      Our world is too hectic and we all just get pulled along with the current.

      Seriously, I don’t think I could manage to do anything without a plan.

  4. Very useful suggestions, Ari and some of them I do on a regular basis. I don’t have a static desk as such, I have several places where I work so I’ve organised myself so I can pick up and take stuff with me, whereever I may be working. I work best in our campervan, we have a very small house and with three dogs and six cats it can get a bit hectic! I also use the pomodoro technique which gives you 25 minutes to work before having 5 minutes time out… it’s very effective and amazing to see how much you can get done in that time…

    • Thanks for reading, Jo. Apologies for the delay in replying, I’ve fallen behind a little recently. lol wow, I can imagine it can sometimes be manic trying to work in a house with so many animals, vying for your attention 🙂 I have two cats and they can be a handful at the best of times.

      I just got myself a new mechanical timer to help with timed bursts. 🙂 I love the tomato timer that is shown in the pomodoro technique but couldn’t find a good one lol

    • Hi Don, thanks so much for the reblog. Apologies for the delay in replying, I’ve fallen behind a little recently. Hopefully, I can get back to replying to comments quickly and checking out other blogs in a more timely fashion. 🙂

    • Thanks for reading, Clare. Apologies for the delay in replying, I’ve fallen behind a little recently.

      I am glad you found this helpful and I hope your daughter did too 🙂

      • Thanks Clare. I feel like I’m always busy. It’s April already and I feel like I’m a hamster in a wheel, running all the time and getting no where! lol

      • I am sure things will get better soon. Moving house is one of the most stressful activities we do and it will take some time to get over it. Added to all the other problems you have faced in the past few months I am amazed you have been able to do the things you have done! When we are tired and stressed everything seems like a burden so go easy on yourself and get back into things gradually. Set priorities and manageable goals and forgive yourself if things don’t get done. Best of luck xx

  5. I am not as efficient with my time or my day as I used to be Ari and I will tell you that the suggestion to get up and move during the day really resonates with me. I’ve been working from home since 2011 and I have my laptop set up at the kitchen table. Originally, I was hired back in 2011 (after being laid off and taking care of my mom) with the expectation that I would be hired full time and work on site again. That has never happened, but I do work 6 hours a day at work and then there is blogging and catching up on social media with friends. I sometimes spend 12 hours a day hunched over my laptop, taking only two breaks where I shut down and step away (usually to eat). Last Fall I developed soreness in my shoulder. Thinking I had slept funny, I ignored it and now I have limited range of motion in that arm. I have been to almost every ergonomic website out there, finding a solution for my posture while using the laptop (I’m tall, 5’9″) and exploring seating arrangements and exercises to do as well. I now take more breaks, if only to get up, walk around, do some of the recommended stretches from the physical therapist I found online, then sit back down again. It took many years for this to catch up with me. And hopefully not as many years to have the problem leave me. Since I never injured myself, I believe it is my posture, hunched over the laptop hours on end. I have bought a separate mini wireless keyboard, elevated the laptop so I look up and not down and I am trying to adapt to a vertical mouse. Sigh. Too late smart as that saying goes.

    • Thanks for reading, Linda. Apologies for the delay in replying, I’ve fallen behind a little recently. I am so sorry to hear that you ended up with limited range of mobility. It is so bad for us, using laptops. The first thing I did when PC towers became less of the norm and laptops too over, I got myself a large monitor with a stand, separate keyboard and mouse. I have tried the elevated laptop but I found I preferred a bigger screen.

      It makes such a difference doesn’t it, looking down at a screen and even with all the best will in the world, it can be hard to keep good posture when we work for long stretches of time.

      • No problem ever Ari – I am very behind myself right now as we’ve been so busy at work. I got the first laptop 10 years ago to save space and my desktop was downstairs and I really didn’t like being downstairs, but it was the only place roomy enough. I wish I had thought to have the separate keyboard then. I never thought much about the position of my hands until I started researching ergonomics. We will be getting new laptops for work in the next week or so – it will have a 17-inch screen, but I like the idea of a separate larger monitor. The way I have the elevated laptop, you probably encountered the same problem – the colors on the screen are distorted. It is fine for typing at work during the day, but if I am on any website, the colors are dark and I have to stand up to see them. As to the posture, you are correct with that as well, you can start with your back straight and head looking up and soon you will start to slouch. I am going to look into the idea of a larger monitor. Thank you for the tip. I have not used the vertical mouse yet, I wanted to get used to the elevated stand and keyboard first.

      • I don’t think enough is done to teach people about ergonomics in the work place. It was only at my last job where the Health and Safety Department made us take a course on it and it really opened our eyes.

        What I do miss, is a double monitor! Eventually, when we have money *laughs hysterically* I’d love to get 2 monitors. It was always good for doing work (not writing) but business stuff or website work.

        I was always more efficient at work because of that.

        Let me know how the vertical mouse works, I’d be interested to know

      • Yes, they will even tell you the placement of items on your desk for proper reaching. My friend’s law firm did that and they got new chairs after each person had a chance to sit in different chairs and the company came on site to adjust them properly. They got split keyboards and if they were short, had a foot rest as well. My friend has a stand-up desk at home. I tried that with a second old laptop and putting it on a chest, but standing up didn’t seem to help, but those stand-up desks have models that are able to accommodate two monitors should you do that down the line (after you are all settled in your new place which is likely making you dig in your pocketbook constantly).

        I am going to try the vertical mouse – I keep putting it off and I’ll let you know Ari. The Anker brand is what I bought as the reviews said it was the most ergonomically correct of the models available. You hold it like shaking someone’s hand.

  6. This is a nice list! I’m so forgetful when it comes to drinking water. So much that I have an alarm to remind me to drink some water. LOL.

    I try to eliminate distractions because they make me procrastinate. “Distractions” could be a movie, social media, or some unnecessary tasks on my to-do list. Whatever they are and no matter how interesting they seem, I always try to eliminate them.

    • Thanks so much for reading, apologies for the delay in replying, I’ve fallen behind a little recently.

      I think drinking water is the one we all seem to share as the one we forget. I am the same, I use alarms on my phone to remind me and I always try and drink water with my meals as another way to keep track that I’m drinking enough.

    • Thanks for reading. Even not done daily, these are great to do. I do feel I need constant reminders such as schedules and alarms to help keep it up 🙂

  7. Nice list and I think finding what works for our flow at different times is key- and I like how you separated the make a list and plan to then add do it!

  8. Love all these tips! Especially the tip to drink enough water because sometimes I go on hydration kicks and then quickly forget lol. But it helps so much with headaches! I hope you get back into your efficient groove soon. 💛

    • Hi Madeline, thanks so much for reading. I am exactly the same re: hydration kicks. One week I am crushing it, drinking loads and then two weeks later I realise I’ve not drunk any water at all! lol

      I have alarms for so many things and even had “drink water” in my diary. At first, I thought it was weird to do that but it has been helping so, whatever works 😀

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