People who win in the workplace, school, family life, or any other area of their life have a superb grip on productive living. Time is literally money to an efficient person: it’s always spent carefully and precisely. The secret to maximum personal efficiency lies in the habits and patterns of behavior of an individual.

Plan

When people don’t plan, they become slaves to something else. Demands of others, money, or even unimportant distractions will manage a person without a plan.

The software engineering industry saw a revolution with a new team management methodology called “Scrum” or “Agile”. Scrum became so popular because a team working within its structure was able to produce a software product at a much higher pace. Iterations happened every two weeks instead of three months. The principles behind “Scrum” weren’t too complex, but they are a witness to the importance of planning. The following is a loose outline of how Scrum management functions:

  • A team dissects a broad goal for the next two weeks into small bite-sized action steps
  • Each team member takes a set of bite-sized action steps and commits to have them done by the end of a specified time period.
  • Every day starts with a brief “stand-up” meeting where each team member reports what they’ve accomplished, what they plan to accomplish that day, and mentions any road-blocks they face.
  • Each employee goes off to accomplish what they said they would do.

This structure can be easily applied and adapted outside of the settings of software development and business teams.

An efficient person knows the value of a plan and fights unproductivity with written daily priorities, appointments, and goals. These goals should line up with short-term and long term goals.

No Hesitation

Perhaps one of the best venues to observe a “no-hesitation” attitude is in the armed forces of the United States. Our troops learn lessons about team work and efficiency out of necessity. Tasks both big and small must be executed with impeccable timing or the team will lose lives.

In an average work-day, there should be around 10-30 small tasks to accomplish. Hesitating to jump right in at a high pace will cost time and cause you to miss some items on the to-do list. If you find yourself waiting too long to jump in, you might want to spend a little more time on the first habit of planning.

Say No

Life simply demands too much. Everyone has an optimum work output that they can give. Anything that takes away from the optimum pace must be placed on hold. Many business leaders and entrepreneurs want to be the hero that gets everything done. However that simply is not possible.

Efficient people have a strong sense of what their responsibilities and purpose is and they clear everything from their plate that doesn’t qualify for their time. Some emails will have to be left for later, some clients will have to wait for an appointment longer than they would like, and some company recreation will have to be skipped.

Work Balance

Family time, rest, relaxation, reflection, and fun time are not “wants”.

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