Working Toward $100,000: What Efficiency Means to Me

Working Toward $100,000: What Efficiency Means to — This post is a long-overdue response to something Anne at The Golden Pencil said about my post on time management and working more efficiently. Anne definitely got my point, but I think her connotation of “working more efficiently” differs from mine, and I want to talk about it.

We both agree that working more efficiently means getting more done in less time. But where we diverge is that I see if as a way to end my day sooner or use my time better, Anne seems to perceive it as a way to cram more into an already overcrowded life.

She said…

Maybe it’s just my own stuff, but trying to be “more efficient” smacks of trying to get more done, and I don’t think getting more done is the answer to more income… at least for most of us.

My own experience, and the experience shared with me by many is that we already are trying to do to much! Never-ending to-do lists seem to result not getting more done, but more feelings of guilt because of what’s still undone at the end of the day. And guilt does nothing for income or creativity.

Well, yeah. But, when I say I’m trying to be “more efficient,” I’m trying to figure out where I waste my time so I can stop doing it. I’m trying to improve my quality of life, by getting done what needs to get done in the time I’ve allotted for it, rather than staying up until after 10 on a Monday to write the blog post I’ve been meaning to write for weeks. (Note to self: The efficiency thing needs some work.) 

I let things get in the way. I welcome distractions. I allow myself to be a “workaholic” by half-working during the work day and then freaking out at 5 when I realized I’ve gotten nothing done. Talk about guilt! For me, efficiency is about being focused. About setting goals and sticking with them. About working strategically.

It’s about clocking out at the end of the day and not feeling stressed — having the energy to do something creative instead of working all night and falling into bed exhausted.

When it comes down to it, I think Anne and I are saying basically the same thing, but we’re coming at it from completely different directions. I need structure and guidelines and deadlines and all that to get anything done. Otherwise, I’m like a cracked-out fruit fly. Seriously. I’m all over the place. By focusing on the task at hand, rather than doing that “multitasking” I’m so fond of, I get more done, and I have more time for myself, which means I’m better rested and happier, and a lot better at my job. That inevitably leads to improved income — for me anyway.

What do you think? Is “efficiency” all it’s cracked up to be? Leave a comment.

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