How inefficiency is ruining your life
In a world saturated by technology, where devices are designed to save you time and perform menial tasks, it seems ridiculous to assume that inefficiency is ruining your life.
However, despite the presence of technology, you may be surprised to learn that you’re still mismanaging your time, and that this inefficiency is negatively impacting the quality of your life.
In the following article, we seek to highlight your time wasting enemies, and help you to identify any inefficiencies in your life. Subsequently, we will provide you with solutions, in the interest of helping you find more time for the things that truly matter: time spent with loved ones, time spent on hobbies and time spent making money (that can be used for pleasure, instead of survival).
How Efficiency Equates To Success?
In today’s competitive job market, success relies primarily on efficiency. Successful entrepreneurs and businesspeople achieve what they have by upgrading their resources, in the interest of finding more efficient ways to carry out their respective jobs.
Upgrading resources means investing in better technology; sourcing better educational resources; outsourcing work to qualified professionals and seeking assistance when help becomes necessary to the completion of a job.
According to entrepreneur.com, 25 of the world’s highest grossing startups thrived as a result of outsourced development. Skype, for example, attributed a large portion of its success to ‘a team of developers in Estonia.’ Similarly, Slack, a company now valued at 3 billion dollars, outsourced its initial development to an assorted team of freelance professionals.
These are a few of many examples that demonstrate how successful, innovative entrepreneurs value their time- and delegate their work in the interest of saving it.
The New York Times, in their article ‘Outsource Your Way To Success’, make the astute observation that: “Part of the problem is that most people don’t understand the value of their time, particularly if they are salaried. Paying someone to buy your groceries or take the car to the mechanic sounds like money down the drain if you’re not billing hourly. But buying yourself an extra hour to work today can be good for your career tomorrow, if doing so improves your chances of getting a promotion or a raise.”
This passage highlights the idea that inefficiency is ruining your life. By wasting time on tasks that could, without fail, be completed by someone else- you’re wasting valuable resources. In turn, you’re limiting your success, and limiting the opportunities available to you in your professional and personal life.
By attempting to complete all tasks yourself, you’re taking time away from family; you’re subjecting yourself to the possibility of debt and you’re simply catering to the needs of successful people – who use you as a means to become more efficient.
This is especially relevant in sharing economies, where pandering to the needs of others through completing gigs or freelancing work often takes precedence to your accomplishments. This means that while successful people pave their way to the top, you simply help them lay their bricks and neglect to serve yourself in the process.
Identifying Your Enemies is the Key To Your Success
Everyone encounters, at some point in their career or personal life, an obstacle or ‘enemy’ that stands in the way of their success. However, these enemies can be all the more powerful if they remain undetected, and subsequently unresolved.
For your convenience, we’ve outlined a select number of ‘enemies’ that may be hindering you. These are inefficiencies, disguised as ‘necessities’, that you may be holding onto- unaware of the fact that they’re blocking your way to success.
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that having too much information can, in the longterm, prove as damaging as having too little. The condition of being exposed to too much information is referred to as ‘information overload’, and this is very real, particularly as social media continuously bombards us with updates, and technology feeds us with an endless stream of data.
The idea of information overload may seem counterintuitive to some, particularly if you consider the old adage ‘knowledge is power’. However, as US News puts it in their article ‘Why Too Much Information Is Bad For Business’, “Being swamped with information while not being in possession of the time or the knowledge to sort out the worthless from the helpful can be the rough equivalent of having no information at all.”
What this means, is that by exposing yourself to too much information, you’re wasting time attempting to sort through it. The sheer amount of resources taken to extract useful details from the influx of information that most businesses receive on a daily (if not hourly) basis is astonishing. Information overload is draining you of your of time, of your money and of your energy. It’s one of your biggest enemies, and it lies slyly in your pocket, snugly tucked inside your smartphone device or laptop computer.
There are definitely no shortage of interruptions that can take time away from important tasks. From browsing Facebook, to stopping for a ‘quick’ coffee, we can find endless ways to distract ourselves from what truly matters: securing our success.
Self-inflicted interruptions are bad enough, but what’s worse, perhaps, are outside interruptions. Unwelcome; unnecessary and unproductive interruptions occur far too regularly throughout our workday.
Edward Brown, an efficiency expert and consultant interviewed by The Washington Post, reported that interruptions account for “372 minutes, or 6.2 hours every day, or 31 hours a week – almost a whole person, in productive time lost.” He also stated that interruptions cumulatively lead to “between 40 and 60 percent of time wasted.”
The idea that we waste 31 hours per week on interruptions alone is shocking, to say the least. That’s (almost) the equivalent number of hours that a full-time employee is expected to work. If we applied those 31 hours to useful, productive tasks- we could find success much more easily. It’s almost incomprehensible how vastly our lives would change, if we worked more efficiently, and put time wasted on interruptions to better use.
Edward Brown, in his interview, very neatly sums up this sentiment. He states that: “Time, which is money, is a precious commodity that we can’t afford to waste… Time Bandits are our friends, our bosses, our colleagues. And we are our own worst Time Bandits because of the Internet. It’s just about destroyed our ability to concentrate. Social network marketing has nailed us with everything to break our concentration.”
One of the biggest, most personal and perhaps most devastating inefficiencies in our lives is uncertainty. If you have no goals; no purpose and no direction- then you’re wasting precious time. And if you’re floating aimlessly, changing lanes and attempting to find meaning in life, then you’re wasting time.
The only way to ensure that your time, your expensive time, is not being wasted- is to guarantee that it’s being used in the interest of accomplishing a goal.
By setting yourself a goal, and giving yourself something to work towards, you ensure that your time is never truly wasted. This because, by creating a goal, you’re eliminating uncertainty and paving a clear path to success.
How To Kill Your Enemies
Now that we’ve identified some potential enemies that may be standing in your way, and that may be preventing you from leading a truly efficient and accomplished life, we must also to find a way to defeat them.
Fortunately, eliminating inefficiencies in your life is relatively easy. Recognizing them truly is half the battle, and once you appreciate that these enemies exist, you can work to find ways to ‘upgrade’ your resources and to lead a more efficient life.
How To Defeat Information Overload
As discussed above, too much information can prove detrimental to your wellbeing. Therefore, in the interest of defeating this enemy, you have to understand how to efficiently deal with information.
In their article ‘10 Steps To Conquering Information Overload’, forbes.com gives readers a number of useful suggestions on how to overcome this problem. The most relevant, we feel, is their suggestion to “do a brain dump.”
This is an idea put forward by a number of efficiency experts, and it involves you ‘cleansing’ the mind of information, by simply writing down every thought in your mind. Seeing this information on paper will help you to prioritize the important details, and discard useless information that is simply consuming your personal resources.
Their suggestion to only spend 2 minutes on each email is also useful, and a good rule to abide by (provided the email isn’t too important.) This will help you save time for more important tasks, that focus less on menial communication.
There is, of course, also the option for you to outsource these tasks. By hiring someone to filter through information, and paying someone to relay to you only the critical details, you could find significant success in your future.
Dealing With Interruptions
Pesky interruptions, as we have now learned, account for an exorbitant amount of our time – both in regards to our personal lives and our professional lives.
Edward Brown, our trusted efficiency consultant, has an effective solution to help you eliminate this hidden enemy: allow yourself a ‘time lock’. In his interview, he outlines the effectiveness of designating a portion of your day to silent work. This could be coupled with an internet shutdown, if possible, or in the least a temporary ban on social media sites.
The only way that time locks can actually work, however, is if you notify others of your intentions. Send out a mass email, text or simply talk to those around you- and let them know that in the interest of becoming more efficient, you need to be left alone between the times of ‘a’ and ‘b’. This silent, uninterrupted time will go far in helping you achieve your success.
This is, at its core, a form of time management that will help you avoid interruptions and make the most of your day. There are, however, many more time management options that we encourage you to explore.
The root of uncertainty is the inability to make decisions, and this can seep into your life as a whole, particularly where being uncertain stops you from committing to a goal or prevents you from finding a purpose in life.
The easiest way to eliminate uncertainty is to learn how to make decisions. In their article ’11 Ways Successful People Overcome Uncertainty’, inc.com suggests that successful people use psychological training to overcome fear of uncertainty. The article states that:
“The limbic system responds to uncertainty with a knee-jerk fear reaction, and fear inhibits good decision-making. People who are good at dealing with uncertainty are wary of this fear and spot it as soon as it begins to surface. In this way, they can contain it before it gets out of control. Once they are aware of the fear, they label all the irrational thoughts that try to intensify it as irrational fears–not reality–and the fear subsides. Then they can focus more accurately and rationally on the information they have to go on.”
By training your brain to react more positively to the fear of uncertainty, you can learn to embrace it. In turn, you can make more rational and clear decisions, that will help you find a goal; find direction and find purpose in life.
How Efficiency Can Save Your Life?
Efficiency is the key to success, and it may be the key to your survival as well. We’re living in difficult times, where competition is fierce, and the ability to succeed is becoming increasingly more limited. Those who put efficiency at the forefront of their business, and at the forefront of their personal lives are ensuring that valuable time (a precious ‘commodity’) is not wasted.
This is, as far as we’re concerned, the best possible way to find success and the easiest to ensure that you’re energy is well spent as you pave your path to success.