Increasing Efficiency in Daily Life

Increasing Efficiency in Daily Life

The best thing you can do for yourself is to increase your efficiency by developing some new habits to make things easier.  You will be faster and will expend less energy to accomplish your daily tasks because many aspects of your life will be on auto pilot.  It saves your brain space for new and more fun things.

Always Put Things Back in the Same Place

Mom’s advice to pick up your toys still carries weight.  When you take a moment before bed to put everything away, you will know exactly where it is when you get up in the morning.  It makes your days far more efficient.  If you don’t want to pick things up at the end of the night, then put them back in their “spot” immediately.  My laptop is always put back into its bag, so I never leave for work without it.  Why spend any time at all looking for something when you can put it back in its spot after using it and know exactly where it is?  How much time did you really save leaving your keys on the counter instead of putting them on the hook where the cat can’t knock them into the water bowl?

Live Close to Work/Cut the Drive

If you’ve been feeling short on time lately, one of the best things you can do is reevaluate all the driving in your life.  You likely drive to work 5 days a week and are making the drive 10 times per week.  The closer you live to work, the less time you will spend commuting to work.  If you have an hour drive, that’s 10 hours a week, 500+ hours a year, or over 21 days of your life per year that you’ve just given up for the sake of sitting in the car.  Time is the one thing you can’t get back.  You can find a job closer to your home, or find a new home closer to your job.

Your quality of life is likely to go up exponentially.  For those with a day job, some of the benefits of a minimal commute include going home to eat lunch, getting home around 4:30/5pm and going to bed at midnight after a full 7 hours of time to do whatever you want, getting up at 8am after 8 hours of sleep, and getting to work by 8:30am after minimal stress with little to no traffic.  It’s not one or the other anymore!  If you’re close enough to work, you can walk or bike, which comes with added health benefits.

Even if you aren’t working, this goes for anywhere you spend most of your time.  You should do as much as possible to structure your life in a way that keeps you in one centralized local area.  If you can’t cut the driving time down, make use of it with podcasts or audiobooks.

Actually Use Your Calendar

It can be difficult to remember appointments over a week out.  I plug my personal appointments into my Outlook calendar at work.  It’s the only calendar I check regularly.  Outlook allows you to set appointments as private, so you don’t have to share them with whoever has access to your calendar.  Make sure you make an effort to always be on time for your appointments.

Keep Food/Drinks at Work Easy and Inexpensive

I keep a reusable cup directly on my desk that I fill at the water cooler 5-8 times per day.  I only drink water, since I generally don’t want to drink my calories.  I also keep a mug for hot chocolate or tea.  I don’t drink coffee.

Every Monday morning, I bring in 5 bananas and 5 apples.  All 5 days of the work week, I eat a banana for breakfast and an apple with peanut butter around 3pm.  It’s easy, delicious, and low effort.

My overhead food cabinet at work directly after a monthly fill-up.  5 apples and 5 bananas.  I am ready for the week.

Once a month, I stock up on all my soups and snacks.  I get Campbell’s ready-to-heat soups and boxes of saltines.  I also get Nutri-grain bars, Chewy bars, popcorn, and occasionally throw in some not-really-good-for-you snacks I enjoy.  Far better for my wallet if I’m enjoying my snacks from the grocery store than from the cafeteria at work, although I will admit it would be better to not buy/eat them at all.

I eat soup most days for lunch.  Soup isn’t the healthiest option (all that sodium!) but I find it the easiest and try to add in variety.  If I have dinner leftovers from the night before, I often bring those in for lunch (which is fine, since my soup won’t go bad).  I also occasionally bring in frozen meals if they are on sale, and sometimes I bring a couple at once to put in the freezer in the kitchenette.  My work has a cafeteria with reasonably priced meals so I usually participate in Taco Tuesday or Sushi Thursday.  I admire the people who meal prep the weekend before, since it’s by far the most cost effective and healthy for you.

Find Neutral Clothes and Shoes

I find it far easier when your clothes and shoes are neutral.  Solid colors and tan, brown, gray, and black usually work with anything and are far easier to mix and match.

Keep a Jacket at Work

I keep a gray jacket that I found at a thrift store for $5 hanging in my cube.  I use the jacket any time I have an unexpected meeting (or even an expected one) and want to look pulled together.

This generally only works for women…

….but I wear dresses every single day.  That’s right, a dress every.  Single.  Day.  I find it far easier to put on a dress and neutral shoes and then walk out the door than it is to match a shirt with pants and nice shoes to make it look dressier and possibly a sweater or jacket depending on the shirt.  No thought required, and I always look well put together.

Forget the Make-up

Your skin is healthier without it.  It takes less time in the morning to skip it altogether.  The truth is that if your coworkers are busy judging your lack of make-up, you’re probably not doing your job very well.

It takes confidence to break the normal mold of society, but I haven’t worn make-up… well, ever.  I was just never interested in it.  I’d say I got pretty far without it.  I keep a tube of mascara around for “special occasions,” like when I’m presenting to the board.  Those are days I am also in a suit.

Obviously if you work in the fashion industry, you may be required to wear make-up and show your style in order to succeed.  In that case, carry on.

 

What are your daily life hacks?

11 Replies to “Increasing Efficiency in Daily Life”

  1. I’m pretty sure you’re me with this post (though with a better work pantry so apparently I need to step up my game). I always get complimented on how put together I look or how dressed up I am on the days I wear a dress. Silly people, it’s the easiest option there is! And I’ve ditched the make up to the extent that I didn’t even wear any to the last two weddings I attended (one I was even photographed for because my son was the ring bearer).

  2. Good list here. Putting everything in your calendar/Todoist is important to free up your mind. Also important is to ensure you put prep time, down time (to read Frugally Reckless ; )), health time and creative time into your calendar. Otherwise it will get scheduled up or frittered away on social media. This is especially important for introverts. Schedule that downtime to go internal and recharge!

  3. I agree with the neutral clothing idea so much, I take it a step further. Aside from a bit of blue accents, my entire wardrobe is greyscale. I can dress in the dark and still look put together.

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