Friday, June 25, 2010

How to be efficient.

It's long since come to my attention that I am incredibly efficient. Slightly not efficient enough to realize I could've made a post about this a long time ago, but efficient enough to get around to it someday.

I figure there's only 24 hours in a day. No more. No less. That's what you get. You could make the most of it and pack a million things into that day - but if you're not efficient you might only pack half a million things because you simply didn't do it efficiently enough. Instead of trying to cram it all and not make it, why not breeze through simply because you're cooly and efficiently saved yourself the one resource you'll never get back: time.

1. When cleaning or even not, if you're going from one room to another in the house and there's things that should be in the next room, take it with you. I know it sounds simple but how many coffee mugs are in your office right now? Everytime you've gone to the kitchen and not brought all those with you to be washed have cost little bits of time!

2. When planning a trip out, try to go in order of logic and distance. Obviously if the closest thing to you is the market, you're going to do that last - because logically cold things aren't going to last your entire trip and back. But if the closest to you is, say, the feedlot, you can easily grab some chickfood on your way out and keep that in the car while you perform errands.

3. Play upbeat music. I pretty much always have music on and it helps me want to get up and do things. Rock also works, but it makes me angrily clean. It's fun! Angry heavy metal is good for scrubbing floors and hyper happy pop is great for vacuuming.

4. Pass the buck. A chore passed onto someone else is a chore saved! Don't be a princess about it (or hell, be a princess about it if it ends up working, good on ya!) but try your best to give reasonable chores or jobs to other people. Even if it's as simple as, "While I hold this can you pass me the rag?" saves about a minute in you putting it down, grabbing a rag and coming back.

5. Think of things you can do simultaniously. Don't extend your abilities otherwise you'll have 7 unfinished things instead of 5 finished things. Can you pay your bills while you watch the market news on your superannuation fund? Can you drive and put on makeup? Don't do that. Seriously, it makes you a wanker. But, if you can cook dinner AND prepare tomorrow's breakfast, why not do that? I make my husband's lunches at the same time as dinner. I simply prepare extra and dish it up into a box with all the plates we're going to eat off and pop it in the fridge on my way to the table with dinner!

6. Make breakfast the night before. Crockpots make amazing breakfasts, I'm finding out. Omelettes. Steel cut oats. Muffins, even. Especially if you get a wall timer, you can place shorter cooked foods (like bread, which is 3 hours on high) in there and set the timer for a few hours before you wake up (make sure there's no eggs or milk in the things you do this to, however, unless you're playing a game of Risk). 4c water + 1c steel oats is an amazing warm and lush breakfast. And takes 3 minutes to prepare and cooks in your sleep! Perfect for people who are too tired to make breakfast in the morning.

7. If you're in school, download your lectures. I listen to my lectures on the way to work. So while I'm working I'm like, "Hey, did you know that the liver and human muscles make their own kind of sugar?" which is totally annoying to my coworkers but helps me learn. Kidding. They're not annoyed by it. They wear headphones. I talk to myself.

8. Write lists. Shockingly efficient. You'd think, but lists take 10 minutes to write! But... not if you write them as you go. I have a few lists. Lists of things I want someday. Lists of things that are inexpensive but would be nice to own but I've never seen and want to remind myself to get someday. Grocery lists. Lists of stuff to do that day. You may think it costs time to write - but getting dressed, getting in the car, driving to the shops and forgetting ONE ingredient to make you go all the way back saves even less time.

9. If it can be done in advance, do it. Prepare dinner in advance, do everything up to the cooking when you have some spare time and then cook it up when you're ready. Can you setup your bills to be automatically paid? That will save about an hour a week!

10. Why make one when you can make ten? If you're preparing, say, pizza dough for homemade pizzas, why on earth would you only prepare one crust? They're freezable. Prepare 10, freeze nine. You've just saved youself 9 hours of waiting for each crust! Same goes for pie crusts, tart shells... hell.. even jewellery making. After 1 or 3 things you tend to get into a 'groove' and work on them faster. If you do it all NOW, it'll save you time later.

11. TV is for the background, if it exists at all. If you want to watch your shows, great - but honestly the majority of TV you can watch and listen to without just sitting on the damn couch. Even if you *want* to sit on the couch, tidy up during commercials. You'd be surprised how those boring 5 minutes of tidying can effect a house! If I get my husband and I on a 15 minute timer, we finish the whole open-plan dining/living/kitchen area. The whole thing. And that's just 30 minutes between us. 5 minute breaks every 10 minutes? You're getting your TV AND tidying up at once! Of course you can tidy AS you watch, but I realize you don't always want to do that.

12. Learn to fidget. Not only do people who fidget weigh an everage of 5kg less than those who don't, they also tend to be more productive. You're fidgeting, you want to do something, so you get up and do it.

13. Develop a habit. No, not on crack cocaine. Honestly cocaine only works once or twice to clean the house before it becomes useless, so don't even try it. (What?!) Kidding. Well... not about trying cocaine. Just don't try that. But honestly - develop an efficiency habit. Look around your house. How does it flow? How can it be more efficient? Could you keep the coffee maker and crockpot in the same plug with a timer so they'll both be ready when you wake up? If you kept the catfood just a little closer to the bowls, how would that go?

14. Make your bed. Starting your day doing something productive sets the mood for the entire day. It really does! Make your bed, have a glass of water, eat your prepared breakfast and start your day on the right foot! From there it'll be a cake walk!

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