One Step, Two Step, Three Step, Four…
Or how about just ONE?
I get really excited about efficiency. NEVER at the expense of shortchanging the end result, but if I can get to the same place AND save time, then sign me up! If I can save money and energy in the process too, all the more reason to streamline anything and everything possible.
There are many situations we encounter, both in our personal and professional lives, which could be approached with more efficiency if we simply took the time to stop, evaluate and adjust.
I’ve always been fascinated by this. I remember decades ago, a friend was studying to be an engineer. One of her assignments was to research and test the most effective ways of accomplishing certain everyday tasks, like getting dressed and putting groceries away. She even did an exhaustive study on the fastest method to button up a shirt. No kidding! There is actually a difference between ‘top to bottom’ and ‘bottom to top’!
Most recently, I was reminded how beneficial it can be to eliminate wasteful or unnecessary steps when I changed my personal email address. Action Plan Ministries utilizes several different email addresses through a service provider, which happens to be a different provider than my personal email service.
Unfortunately, I hated checking my personal email. (Yes, I said HATED!) The web hosted sign-on procedure was arduous and the email features were limited, even for the simplest of tasks. Instead of pausing long enough to evaluate the situation and make adjustments, I began to avoid checking my email, which in essence, undermined the entire point of HAVING the email to begin with.
Well, we’re moving next weekend and wouldn’t ya know it, my current personal email provider doesn’t service our new home address. At first I panicked at the thought of having to change the email address I’ve had for years, but then it occurred to me how silly it was to have anxiety over something I don’t even want or like! Why not change my personal service to the same one we use for our ministry? What a ridiculously simple solution. I hadn’t thought of this sooner because I hadn’t been prompted to STOP, EVALUATE and ADJUST.
Our move forced this change, but we must learn to initiate these periods of evaluation and adjustment even without a strong-armed prompt!
The minute I switched personal email service providers, life got SO much easier. I’m no longer frustrated by the sign-on and I’m saving time and energy since I’m utilizing the same email site anyway. Navigating the user features is already familiar and provides far more options than I previously had. It was LOVE at first sign-on!
Here are some more examples to rev up your engines and get your own ideas rolling:
- Buy in Bulk – Sometimes you save money and sometimes you break even, BUT regardless, you save time and energy with less shopping trips to the store. Less gas. Less crowds. Less waiting in line. Remember, ‘Less is More’! Perhaps invest in an additional freezer? We not only freeze meats and dinners when we double recipes, but even bread and milk.
- Oil Changes – Use synthetic oil instead of regular motor oil. It’s recommended to change ‘standard’ oil every 3,000 – 5,000 miles, whereas synthetic oil will last at least 7,500 miles. Some manufacturers and dealers even recommend going 10,000 – 15,000 miles between changes. How nice would it be to further space out this task on your to-do list?! Whether you change the oil yourself or take your vehicle in, you’ll save time and money!
- Running Errands – Map out and plan the route for your errands and appointments. Group them by location and day/time. Why not get more done in the time you’re spending running around anyway? Rhetorical indeed.
- Laundry – Buy more underwear! I know people who do a load of laundry or more EVERY day. I just can’t stand the thought of being married to my washing machine. Others run out of clothes and regularly have to do a half load here and there, wasting time, water and electricity. It is FAR more efficient to run full loads whenever possible. A rule of thumb in my house – make SURE you have enough underwear to last AT MINIMUM one week because otherwise…well…you can just imagine!
- HootSuite – Hoot what??? HootSuite is a social media management system
that can make a marked difference in the time you spend posting to social media. Do you have a business and post to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc. regularly? If so, instead of posting to each of these sites individually, post once to HootSuite and let HootSuite post to all your social media at the same time for you. And the best part? Up to (5) social media sites are FREE. Think about how much time this can save you!
- Bill Paying – Do you still send out checks each month when paying bills? STOP! Or, do you allow companies to ‘auto debit’ out of your account? Not the safest idea! What’s better? Most banks and credit unions now offer an online bill paying service completely free of charge. Once you set up each of your ‘vendors’, simply go online, specify how much you want to pay to whom and when, and then hit ‘enter’. It’s almost too easy to spend money! This way NO ONE is authorized to deduct funds from your account, and your bank will either send the funds out electronically or via paper check at no cost to you. They won’t even charge you for the envelope or stamp! This has saved us not only loads of time, but risk as well!
- Lipstick – This is for the ladies! I often use a lipstick AND a gloss, but recently found a product which acts as both in one. Sounds awfully trivial, doesn’t it? Hardly! It’s saving me both time and money. Simplify, simplify, simplify. It ALL adds up so don’t overlook the ‘small’ adjustments!
I particularly love the fact that increasing your efficiency isn’t about curtailing what you seek to attain or accomplish. It’s simply about getting there with less energy and resources spent. This is the stuff which my dreams are made of!
I’ve listed just a few of my favorite ‘Step Savers’ but would LOVE to hear some of yours as well. Please comment below and share with our readers. Your idea might make a huge difference for someone!