Efficiency is something a lot of people struggle with. Whether they don’t grasp the benefits or don’t have an excellent way to improve themselves, I see many folks using time and energy on things inefficiently and not having the heart or care to improve. You are here because you might be curious about how you can look at daily activities and find ways to improve. If you are constantly striving to be a person of value, how can you always try to make yourself more valuable? Let’s explore optimizing how efficient you are.
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Having a long-term objective
I used efficiency in a general way here. This could be taken as how you get more work done in your work day, how to do your chores faster with good quality, how to learn new skills faster, etc. The critical piece is that you must have an objective. You cannot even begin to grow if you don’t recognize when you make successes or failures to a goal. Given you find a skill or activity you are passionate about or want to improve on it. Make that one of the few goals you will focus on in the here and the now. Remember, you should never try to grow in more than 2-3 skills simultaneously, as you will impair your growth. For example’s sake, let’s say you want to improve how much you can get done in a work day as a person contributing work to a team.
Break it into stepping stones
The first step is to take your overarching goal and break it into smaller stepping stones. Each of these might be a concise term goal. These goals should be small. Small enough that it is reasonable to make a good strong effort to accomplish them within 20-30 minutes of your time. This is okay to be aspirational. Breaking things up to reflect these 20-30 minute sprints of your time now gives you frequent feedback and applies yourself directly to see how far you can go on them. If you fail, the work is small enough to reflect on and take reasonable action to improve on after. One such productivity tool many uses reflects a lot of this sentiment: the Pomodoro technique. While I do not advocate for Pomodoro specifically, you will find a lot of overlap between my spirit and the Pomodoro technique.
Have a brief and intense period of focus to achieve stepping stones
With bite-sized chunks of work leading to the more significant long-term goal, your goal now is to focus on the immediate tasks, not the long-term goal. You want to achieve each stepping stone with more success than the last. If and when you fail to achieve the stepping stone goals. Reflect on the failure and consider how you can improve on the next stepping stone. Move the unfinished work forward and push back other stepping stones until your reach success. Reflect on the last failure, and see if your improvements help you succeed more.
Accept and reflect on failures
The critical aspect is that you must be breaking your comfort zone. You must constantly be pushing yourself harder on each stepping stone. If you are not failing along the way, you are not going to grow. It is okay to have mostly failures as long as you reflect and see progress. Eventually, these failures will harden you. You will build new skills, cognitive capacity, and capability along the way. To the point, things feel more straightforward and natural for you. This process works well as it is a tight loop of success and failure of iterations that force evaluation and experimental growth. You won’t grow if you do not fail in some capacity.
Focus only on the nearby stepping stones you’ve laid out
I ask to put the blinders on and remove the long-term goal (but keep in mind the direction) to focus. These 20-30 minute periods of intense work require focus. Whether you are trying to execute a skill that improves your speed, ability to work with others or improve quality, these are small iterative chunks of the long-term goal you will build along the way. Focusing only on one long-term north star tends to now let you focus on the small beats you need to improve on, and quickly motivation to continue on the stepping stones can diminish. However, always focusing on this and the next step seems much more doable and progressive. Eventually, with many steps taken along the way, you will reach your long-term objective before you know it. Faster than you imagined! Maybe you were so caught up in the journey you forgot about the long-term goal!
When you’ve achieved your objective
People can only try to improve so much at one point. You are quite literally sculpting and repathing your brain to perform more optimally. Doing too much will have diminishing returns and hurt progress on the goals you should focus on to the point that you may lose hope in trying to improve. So double down on no more than one to 3 long-term goals, and that is it!
Your goal should be to shuffle in the stepping stones for those goals. You are strewn throughout your day. You choose to want to be good at these things, meaning your efforts should be as much as you can sanely do. When you finally achieve your long-term goal. You can then reflect on how far you’ve come and how much you grew because of the journey. There are always more skills and things to better yourself on, so pick a new long-term goal to sit at that 2-3 goal focus and begin the cycle again. A life lived in aspiring always to grow is a well-lived life.
We hope you enjoyed this article over our constant drive for success and iterative improvement! We hope you succeed in optimizing your journey to becoming more efficient. Let us know if it inspired you and if you helped master anything because of it! If you enjoyed this article, please check out other related articles here!