How To Boost Your Efficiency From Zero To Hero

Do you start your day with aspirations of being super-efficient? But end your day wondering what the heck you’ve actually done? If you do, then you’re not alone. Almost every single client I’ve worked with has mentioned an efficiency woe to me at one point or another. How to boost efficiency is a common question for many entrepreneurs.

There’s one phrase that I hear more than any other, and I’m guilty of saying it a lot too…there aren’t enough hours in the day.

And while at face value that may seem true, it does beg the question. Would more hours in our day mean that we would get more done? Or would we still be behind the 8-ball because we had more ‘time’ to take more on, and still not enough ‘time’ to get it all done?

No matter whether you feel like more hours would be a blessing or a curse, we can’t change that what we have is 24. What we can change is how efficient we are in those hours.

Now, we need to be realistic about how many of those 24 hours should be for business. You have to sleep right! It doesn’t matter how much you have on your workload, if you don’t prioritise sleep, you’re going to hit a very big brick wall. And fast. I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to prioritise sleep. Or how often busy entrepreneurs push this one thing to the bottom of their priority list.

‘Surviving’ on 4 or 5 hours of sleep per night isn’t a badge of honour. According to Snore Nation, the average adult needs AT LEAST 7 hours of sleep each night, and 8-9 hours is even better. Your brain needs to rest and rejuvenation for peak performance. And there is zero chance of being an efficiency ninja if you’re sleep-deprived.

We also need to prioritise other elements of life. Eating, personal hygiene, socialising, exercising, relaxing, meditating are all important. And shouldn’t be de-prioritised because of business tasks.

If you’re looking after all aspects of your life, then it only leaves 8 to 10 hours a day for your business. So here are my top tips for boosting your efficiency from zero to hero in those hours.

1. To-Do List: Seems cliche, but if you want to be efficient, you need to be clear on what’s on your to-do. You can record these tasks in a project management platform. I like Asana, Trello or Airtable. Or do it the old fashioned way (which I prefer) and use a to-do list. This one from Kmart is my absolute favourite and it’s a steal at only $5. It has a column for priority tasks and another for “if there is time”. 
2. Start with your top 3 ‘must-dos’: These are the 3 tasks that must happen that day. Prioritising them will help you maintain your focus and be more efficient. You could use the priority column in the to-do list above.

3. Batch your tasks: I’ve talked about this before but batching can be a game-changer when it comes to boosting your efficiency. The purpose of batching is to keep the momentum up with similar tasks rather. You lose momentum and focus swapping and changing between different ones. For example, write all the email nurture sequences for all projects at once. You’ll find that once you’re in the groove you can move through it much faster.

4. Schedule out your time: It’s great to have a to-do list and your 3 must-dos. But if you don’t schedule the time to get them done, it’s not guaranteed to happen. Block out time in your calendar for ‘doing’. Be protective of your time and block it out, like you would a client appointment or an important meeting.

5. Try the Five Second Rule: This one is from Mel Robbins and I LOVE IT. Robbins says it’s important to act on an impulse within 5 seconds. Or your brain will kill the idea. Procrastination is the biggest enemy of efficiency. When you feel yourself hesitating to act, start counting backwards to yourself: 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1…as soon as you hit 1, get doing.

6. The 2-minute rule: Another great one for killing procrastination. When you look at your to-do list, identify any task that will take less than 2 minutes and do them.

7. Block distractions: If you’re the type of person that struggles with distraction, then this one is for you. Put your phone on DND, mute the notifications on your computer. If you need an extra nudge in this area, look at apps like StayFocusedRescueTime and Freedom. And my favourite, Mindful Browsing.

8. Schedule time to for distractions: If you find that you’re still distracted, schedule some time for your distractions. Think of it like an efficiency diet…everything in moderation. Block out time for Facebook, Instagram, YouTube vids. Or if you’re like me, an episode of 90’s tv (it’s a guilty pleasure…Beverley Hills 90210 anyone?)

9. Reward Yourself: It’s important to not only keep track of your wins but to celebrate them. When you tick that big (or even small) project of your list, then reward yourself with something. 

10. Outsource: If you know me, you know that I’m a big advocate of outsourcing. I started as a VA and I know first hand how much of a boost outsourcing can have to your efficiency and productivity. Check out my blog on outsourcing

11. Take a break: If you think that working non-stop is the way to get the most productivity from your time, you’re wrong. Aim to work in short bursts, and take a short break in between. A great way to encourage this is to use the Pomodoro technique. Use this technique to break your workday down into 25-minute chunks, separated by 5-minute breaks. There are many apps out there that can track this for you…but Focus Booster is my favourite. 

12. Meditate: A free mind is always able to focus more. Spending a few minutes each morning to meditate, and be mindful can improve the rest of your day. I combine my morning meditation with gratitude journaling. It helps me start my day with the right mindset…one of positivity and gratitude.

13. Plan Your Week In Advance: I’ve mentioned this before, but the last thing I do every Friday is plan out my next week. I sort out my priority tasks and what I’m going to start working on first thing Monday morning. This technique has helped me boost my efficiency. I know what I’m heading into for the week, and I’ve been realistic (and kind to myself) on what is achievable.

14. Spring Clean Your Office: It’s the beginning of spring so the perfect time to declutter and organise your workspace. You can’t be an efficiency queen in a cluttered, disorganised space. Clear out your space and clear out your mind.

15. Take care of yourself: If you want to give the best of you to your business and be the best version of yourself, you have to look after yourself. This means eating well, sleeping well and keeping active.

If you have other efficiency hacks that are must-do’s for you, I’d love to hear about them. Share them with me in the comments below.


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