How to Work Most Efficiently: A Guide

Brooklyn Museum - Caught Napping (Boys Caught ...

Brooklyn Museum – Caught Napping (Boys Caught Napping in a Field) 

How to Work Most Efficiently:  A Guide from the Tour Guide here at A Little Tour in Yellow.


Get plenty of sleep and don’t wake up too early.  People who wake up early — especially those who brag about it — are very inefficient.  They’re tired, too.  (There’s a reason no one likes to be around them.)  It’s best to come dangerously close to oversleeping, if not oversleeping in fact.


Which brings us to our second point.  Be a little late for everything.  I find that five minutes, ten minutes tops, works best.  It keeps you and everyone else on his and her toes.  People are wired funny and easily trained.  In the United States, being late is expected, but it also gets everyone all discombobulated, if not hysterical, and that is strange way to keep people focused.  You’re essentially setting up a crisis framework, the most common mode of work today.  People will buckle-down when doom — real or not — looms.


Third, take frequent naps.  This, by the way, helps ensure you’re always a few minutes behind your schedule.  It’s what we call a win-win.  The earlier risers are pacing in their office losing even more sleep, you’re recharging.  It gives you the advantage.  We call this “I win, you lose”, by the way, and that is good with the “I’ is you.


Fourth, turn off your calendar, keep open your email.  Calendars are guides.  Get a general sense of what’s there.  “Let’s see, this morning I need to be in Hastings around 9:00.  Ok.  Then later in the day at some point I have something in Anoka.  All right.”  That sort of thing.  You can fill in the details later.  Plus, not knowing exactly where you need to be and what you need to be doing helps put you just a little behind schedule and we know what this right?  That’s right!  That’s good!


(Your people will be putty in your hands.)


Email, on the other hand, permits you to stay ahead of things.  Email is communication.  You can stay in touch with clients and colleagues, if you want, but you can also schedule dinner, order a new sweater, or even send friendly notes to yourself.  It doubles your time.  It doubles your efficiency!  And should you take an extra minute to send a note to that little impish blonde you like and then fall a minute behind your pace as a result…well, that’s right!…that’s good!


Next, set low expectations.  Everyone can be an A student if you’re being tested on last year’s curriculum.  Well…Republicans might struggle with this, but they never aspire to efficiency or anything else for that matter.  One wishes they’d just turn into stoners.  But anyway, if you lower your expectations, great things happen by default.  Find the current and take it for a ride.  (People who canoe rivers understand this.)  This strategy lulls the early risers into a sedated frame of mind and then…pow!…you pounce.


And when you pounce, you act quickly.  That hour-long meeting?  Nope, you’ve wrapped it up in 15 minutes.  Sign here.  Press Hard.  Totally unexpected because you expected nothing.   And now look at what’s happened, you have 45 unexpected minutes to put back on your schedule!


Go find a park.  Enjoy a walk.  Take  few pictures.  Send another email to that little impish blonde you like.  Recharge.  Then check your calendar.  See what you missed and circle back.


It really is that simple.


This should have been very helpful.


Now off I go!  I have a 9:00 meeting waiting for me.


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