Day to day efficiency can change your life. Efficiency links together all the tenants of a successful fitness plan, and it creates the opportunities to create a lifestyle around fitness. Efficiency hacks can help you do what you want.
Optimum efficiency means tying together all the complicated parts of your life in a way where you get the most done in the least amount of time. This is best applied to mundane, repeated, and common items such as going the grocery store, meal prepping, or even a specific gym routine. Integrate some efficiency hacks to win everyday.
Log Your Day and Find Waste
The first step is to take account of where you are currently at. How much time do you spend on different activities every day? Every week? If you are unsure, it may be best to document how much time you spend on different activities per day. For instance, my typical weekday follows:
- 5:30 AM: Wake up
- 5:30 to 6:00 AM: Get ready
- 6:00 to 6:15 AM: Drive to gym
- 6:15 to 6:35 AM: Meditate
- 6:45 to 8:10 AM: Workout (can include strength and/or cardio)
- 8:10 to 8:30 AM: Shower and change
- 8:30 to 9:00 AM: Drive to work
- 9:00 to 5:30 PM: Work (can also break this up)
- 5:30 to 6:10 PM: Drive home
- 6:10 to 6:30 PM: Change and heat up food
- 6:30 to 7:00 PM: Eat dinner
- 7:00 to 9:45 PM: Work on side projects or school
- 9:45 to 10:00 PM: Get ready for bed
- 10:00 to 10:30 PM: Read
- 10:30 to 5:30 AM: Sleep
My routine may vary slightly day to day during the week, but overall it is the same. Notice how specific I get. Getting specific is important to really figure out what is and is not adding value. You don’t necessarily need to list out all your activities like this, but it can give you some vision into where you are spending your time.
As you can see some blocks cannot be changed, but you can still make them more efficient. For instance, I have a large block of time I spend working my 9 to 5 that I can make more efficient by batching work. I can finish a bunch of my work on a few days (maybe working more those days) and work less on other days.
Value Added Activities or Nothing
You should find where you are spending the majority of your time and pick some activities or tasks you can make more efficient or even cut out. For instance, when I first started working I was making my breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. It probably took an hour combined to get all 3 meals ready. Now, I make all of my meals for 2 weeks on one day for one to two hours. This saves 5 to 6 hours per week. I have applied this time to other activities that add more value.
The key is figuring out what activities in your day are really adding value. I know that going to the gym, meditation, working, and reading is very important to me. They add value in different ways. You should figure out where you are getting value. Get rid of activities that are not adding value or make them more efficient.
Batch, SAVE Time, and Hack Efficiency
One of the best ways to hack efficiency is by batching. By cooking all my meals together, I am able to consolidate all my activities around cooking. I only need to prep, cook, and clean once instead of multiple times per week. You would be surprised at the time savings you can find by batching. For instance checking and sending emails once or twice per day can equate to massive time savings.
You should think critically about all the activities you do and figure out if you can do them all at once. Some like commuting to work may be non-negotiable. However, you could make this more efficient by working different hours to avoid traffic or working from home certain days of the week.
Think of your biggest time wasters and what you can do to optimize them (or even eliminate them). Be creative and try something new. If it doesn’t work, you can always go back to what you were doing before. Some efficiency hacks may work for you, and others will not.
Create Efficiency to Claim More Time
By creating efficiency by getting rid of time wasters, you can reduce the number of decisions you make. We only have the ability to make a certain amount of decisions per day. By creating efficiency and planning around mundane tasks, you can eliminate decisions freeing up more time for important decisions and planning.
I try to remain efficient by constantly evaluating what I am doing and figuring out better ways to do it. I have eliminated a lot of non-value added time freeing up other time to do what I want. This does not mean I can’t eliminate more non-value added time, but I find efficiency makes me happier and saner. Continually iterate to find the optimal activity timing for you.
Buying a planner can also go a long way. It can be something as simple as a notebook where you write the top 3 priorities for the day. Do it the day before (avoid decision paralysis). Make sure your top priority is the one thing you get done. I use the Panda Planner every day. It allows me to stay organized and practice gratitude.
Hopefully, you will apply some of your gained time towards training. Training can also be optimized to increase results and output. There are efficient ways to run, swim and bike. Becoming more efficient is often more successful in creating better race results. Getting your body to move efficiently decreases energy output and lets you do more.
Find the Balance Between Work and Play
Creating efficiency in life and training is very important, but do not take it too far. A lot of activities that may seem like they do not add value are important. For instance, sometimes I need to relax and watch a movie. Although this may not be contributing to any of my goals, I know that I need it to recharge. Connecting with friends and family is also a must.
Don’t be afraid to add activities that help you recharge. After all, you may find that when you get rid of what you don’t want to do, you will have more time to do what you want. Fill those times with activities that coincide with your goals. Be sure to add in relaxation time and play time! This is probably the most important efficiency hack!
Summing It Up
Creating efficiency feels like a hack for your life. It can free up time you did not know you had. Finding that sweet spot of efficiency can be fun. Don’t be afraid to really experiment and be creative. To make a more efficient week:
- Take stock of where you are
- Figure out what activities add value and which are a waste
- Eliminate non-value added activities and unnecessary decision making
- Increase efficiency in value-added activities by batching or improving the process
- Apply efficiency gains to training increasing output without increasing volume
- Constantly evaluate what you are doing to figure out if there is more efficiency to be had
- Don’t eliminate all relaxation and recovery activities just keep them balanced with other activities
- Reap the rewards and apply your gained time to things you actually want to do!
As you can tell, I love making things efficient. I attack everything from the smallest task to the biggest process. Figure out where your biggest waste is first and work on each task afterward. You will be amazed at the time you can find to do what you really want!
What do you find to be your biggest time wasters? How have you created efficiency in your life? What efficiency hacks have you found to work? As always let me know if you have any questions.