Stop Wasting Time: Efficiency Training

This post is Day #11 in the 31 Days to a Better Work + Life Balance series.

So I know in day one I talked about how we can't do it all and expect to do it perfectly. But there are definitely seasons when you have to manage a lot of things and obviously want to manage them well. This means we have to be purposeful and efficient.

For today's post, I'm going to share some of my strategies for getting a lot of stuff done in small amounts of time. I call it training not because I'm an expert, but because efficiency is a little like having the focus and drive of bootcamp:) Getting stuff done is especially hard when you work from home because you have to be your own drill sergeant. 

Ready to give it a try? Let's do this...

Strategy #1: Eliminate Distractions

Interruptions are probably the biggest enemy of getting things done quickly. I am easily distracted so I have to set barriers in place to guard my work time from getting sabotaged.

Here are a few examples: 

*During work hours, my office doors are closed or I have headphones on. This reminds everyone who needs me that unless it's an urgent, it needs to wait. My husband knows that I have to be in the creative "zone" to get a lot done so he knows not to open up the doors to ask me a question if it can wait.
*Phone and iPad stay out of the office so I'm not tempted to check texts and social media. This goes for cleaning, getting ready, and floortime with my kids. Phone and iPad have to be out of reach or I don't focus.
*When random things come to mind that I need to look up online, I add them to a master in my notes for later. This helps me from stopping what I'm doing while I'm in the zone. (Like blog post to check if the new Taylor Swift album is out and getting sidetracked haha)


Strategy #2: Work Fast and Furious

Work quickly and try to beat the clock. This isn't necessarily for designing or writing or things that take a lot of art and craft. But for the smaller, more routine tasks, I use timers and limits. Otherwise I find myself doddling and forgetting what needs to be done next.

Examples:

*I use the 30/30 app in the morning - I've only got an hour from when i get up to when me my little ones need to be fed, dressed and out the door. I set timers so that we don't waste time getting ready and so everyone has time to eat. 
*Also the 30/30 app for straightening up in the afternoon. I want the house picked up and to be looking cute for when my husband gets home. So these timers get us in shape again so we can have a chill evening. 
*Laundry and dishes are done insanely fast. It probably looks ridiculous but I hate these two chores! So I try to go at top speed and just get them out of the way so I can move on to other things. 


Strategy #3: Plan Ahead If You Can

I'm a huge fan of doing as much as I can in advance. This SAVES me an incredible amount of time and thinking by not needing to process everything at the time I'm doing it.

Examples:

*My blog posts and social media posts are generally outlined. During my plan love hour, I try to right down the key points of the week so that I can just fill in the blanks later. 
*Meals for the week are also planned in advance. Then I can look in my kitchen, see what we didn't eat last week, and add it into a future meal. Plus we only have to hit the store once.
*My designs for each season are sketched out on paper with colors/patterns/type in mind weeks before I actually sit down at the computer to design them. They are much more creative and original this way too.


Strategy #4: Group/Condense If Possible


A lot of time can be wasted by doing the same tasks over and over. I try to group things into one event if I know I'll be repeating the same job again later.

Examples:

*I take all photos for the blog week (and a lot of Instagram photos) at one time. Then I upload and edit them all at once so I can just grab them when they're needed. Good lighting is guaranteed because I pick the day - bonus!
*I try to keep time in the car at a minimum. This means I only go to the store, library, bank, etc. on "errand" day. I try to save running around for this day so I'm not wasting precious work or chill time by being gone every day.
*Something I haven't tried but want to implement is prepping multiple meals at once. How nice would it be to just pull pre-chopped vegetables out of the fridge to throw in a dish or pulling out a bag out of the freezer for a smoothie?

What tips do you have for being efficient? Share below!