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“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
While today’s quote is extremely simple, it really hits home today. Do you ever find yourself trying to find the fast way to do something, rather than the efficient way?
We’re all guilty of it!
It can be a lot harder to get things done right when you’re in a rush, facing a deadline, or dreading a task. Sometimes, it’s so easy to look for an “easy way out”, but often, the “slow and painstaking” way ends up being easier in the long run. The cost of “re-work”, as they say in the business world, (doing tasks over again because they’re not done right the first time) is not worth it!
Combining Productivity & Efficiency
What’s the difference between productivity and efficiency? Of course, they’re related, but I like the following definitions (loosely taken from a few dictionaries):
Productivity is: the effectiveness of effort
Efficiency is: working in a competent and organized way
So, I guess efficiency leads to productivity, in my view. It’s hard to be productive without being efficient, unless you want projects to drag and drag and drag. (A certain doctoral project of mine comes to mind!) As I’m writing this, I’m making a plan to efficiently finish my PhD before next September.
5 Ways To Get Things Done More Efficiently
Here are my top five tips:
1. Focus On STEPS Towards The End Goal
So, I know I’m always saying to visualize your end goal, fill out a goal setting sheet and be sure you can see the future.
I still believe that, but…
Focusing on the steps can help you work more efficiently. Sometimes, seeing the whole project is daunting, overwhelming, and anything but efficient. Once you’ve made your goals, break them down into mini-milestones, and focus on each step as a mini-project.
Of course, you can grab your goal setting sheet in my free printables library (and all the past motivational posters, too!)
2. Take Breaks
Next, remember to take a break! Of course, this one seems so obvious, but it’s really easy to get bogged down with work, stressed out, and forget to breathe and take breaks. It happens to me all the time.
In fact, I read an article today by Neil Patel (one of my Blogger Heroes!) where he cites research studies that suggest taking a 15 to 20- minute break every 50 to 90 minutes.
Here’s what Neil Patel suggests:
- Stay away from your screen
- Stop concentrating! – Actually, you may accidentally come up with the answer when you give your mind a break. I love his example of the “aha!” moment you have in the shower – when you least expect it!
- Get some exercise – So, if you’ve been reading this blog any length of time, you know I’m all for exercise! I love my workouts and exercise routine, although my ultimate goal of looking as fit as I am seems to be on the slow progress track. (If you’re interested, you can read about that here).
Actually, my upcoming course has two whole modules on this concept (that’s how much I love it!). If you missed my post on 6 simple ways to organize your resources, it’s a good place to start.
Having a cleaner desk, a tidy apartment, or even neatly organized piles of paper and post-it-note to-do lists someone manages to calm me down, and get me ready to be efficient.
One of you lovely readers asked me if I do anything on paper, since I’m so into techie tools. Post-it-notes and Checklists are my paper favourites. Even though it’s all in my handy Google Calendar, writing it down again and checking off items I’ve done is satisfying!
4. Talk It Out
Now, at the risk of sounding like a psychologist, I really believe that we need to “talk out” our problems. Ever notice how much better you feel once you explain your life’s problems to your best friend, text a friend your frustrations, or even go for coffee with someone who understands? Maybe take one of those “breaks” from Idea #2 and head out for coffee with the first friend you can find who’s willing to listen!
5. Ask for Help
Well, this one is actually my focus for the week. I’ve come to realize that I really need help with my PhD analysis, and I’m off to find some resources, people, or even a post-doc who has time to tutor me. While struggles can lead to learning, they can also lead to extreme burnout.
So if you don’t see a support network around you, create one! Find someone who has accomplished what you want to do, and ask them for help. You may have to be humble, admit parts of your project that confuse you completely, be bold, and ask. That’s my plan, anyway.
What are your top tips for productivity and efficiency? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Have a lovely and productive Monday!
P.S. Photo fans, the photo for today’s post (and poster!) is one I took in Bordeaux, France in the summer of 2015.
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