Management Articles


10 Efficiency Tips from World Experts

By: Susan Dunn

Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, coaches individuals and executives in emotional intelligence, and offers workshops, presentations, trainings, Internet courses and ebooks.  She is a regular presenter for the Royal Caribbean and Costa cruiselines.  Visit her on the web at and for FREE ezine.

Remember the "Type A Personality"? First labeled because a cardiologist found all the front ends of the seats in his waiting room were worn. The “Type As,” so prone to heart attacks, couldn’t sit back and relax for even a second.

Over the years, in working with Type A personalities (and lately, those with "Achiever" on the StrengthsFindertm profile) who want to get more balance in their lives, I’ve learned the ways of the Super Efficient who lack balance, sacrifice pleasure and esthetics for efficiency, and know how to churn it out.

Say what you will, their trains run on time!

If you need more time, try these things. If this becomes a lifestyle, get some coaching.

  1. Fix your hair once and for all.

    Cut it all off or let it grow long so you can slap it up, or wear it any length and accept it in the wash and dry mode. Eliminate makeup.

  2. Buy efficient containers.

    Type As will tell you how much time is “wasted” in getting into things. It takes less time to flip a cap on the shower wash than to unscrew it; less time to pull-tab the coffee can than to use a can opener; less time to zip and Velcro than to button; less time to open a new CD with a CD-opener than whatever other d*** thing you try. And leave the top off the lotion tube. It won't dry out.

  3. Eliminate needless decisions.

    Fix your work wardrobe so it will work with one pair of shoes and one set of earrings. Have the same thing for breakfast every day. Make Saturday morning grocery shopping day. Wash the car every Sunday afternoon. No exceptions.

  4. Focus on purpose and speed in daily maintenance regime and just get them done.

    Awaiting an important phone call last week, which of course came when I stepped into the shower, I was out and clean – including hair – in time to catch it on the 4th ring. Why are you spending 20 minutes in there? Same soap, same scrub, I just didn’t enjoy it. P.S. Get a good shower mat. Then you can really go fast. And buy thick towels; it takes less time to dry yourself with a good towel.

  5. Streamline your searches.

    Spend this week cataloguing the things you’re always hunting for - and note how much time it takes. Then make a place for them and keep them there. i.e., get all the medicines in one place, get all the laundry supplies together, always put your keys on the kitchen counter.

    One Achiever I work with keeps all his clothes on shelves in the bedroom - no drawers to open, and he can see everything.

  6. Use money to save time.

    Having 2 school uniforms for your child means you must always be worried there isn’t a clean one, and you’ll be forced to wash at inconvenient times, sometimes just the uniform. What a waste! Go ahead and buy 5 uniforms. Heck, buy 7.

    Another application: If you cook and bake, go ahead and buy tiny containers of every spice and herb known to [wo]man so you won't have to go out and buy them one at a time when you need them. Or have to change recipes after you've already spent time deciding on the first one.

  7. Quit wasting time on your food.

    One Type A-er I know doesn’t peel his carrots and that and a can of easy-open tuna is his lunch. Every day. Another one brings two bananas - easy peel, not much chewing - and a box of raisins he eats in two fistfuls. Then it's back to work, hi ho!

    Work up 3 meals you know your family will eat that are quick and always have those ingredients on hand. In my house it was (1) homemade chili, (2) macaroni ‘n’ cheese with meat and (3) homemade stew. Ingredients required: frozen hamburger, stew beef, and pork chops; can, bag or frozen macaroni and cheese – frozen, of course, being the quicket; cans of tomatoes, beans and consommé, potatoes and carrots. Mindless. As while they “stew" you can be doing the school uniforms and building Rome.

  8. Multitask

    I wrote this Top Ten sitting in Jiffy Lube. Others were picking navel fuzz, complaining to friends on their cell phones about the long wait, making new friends, and reading mindless magazines. Other things to do at Jiffy Lube: make shopping and to-do lists, mark files for your secretary, write write your mother, analyze the Schleiffen Plan. Don't just sit there!

  9. Eliminate some pleasure and wandering in your daily life.

    Biggest time wasters for me, because I love them so, are messing with e-mail and chasing rabbit trails on the Internet. Turn off the “You’ve got mail” sound and check your email just once a day. Resist all urges to open links and go exploring the wonderful and wacky world of the Internet. Label it “play” and assign it a time.

  10. Get a maid

    I don’t care what Flylady says, if I do it myself it never ends – it’s psychological. If I have the maid service it is all done at once, and it isn’t my responsibility. Even flour spilled on the kitchen floor can wait for a week if need be. Doing it all at once saves getting stuff out, mixing things, moving around. The freed energy alone - knowing it's their job, not mine - makes me 10x as efficient.

© copyright, Susan Dunn, 2004

Other Articles by Susan Dunn

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. ManagerWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. ManagerWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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