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7 Simple steps to becoming more efficient

Suzi Milovanovic has been a mother of all kinds: stay at home mom, work from home mom, and go-the-office working mom. She blends all these perspectives in her contributions to various local and national print and online publications, tel...

Be organized and efficient

Many of us feel overwhelmed, tired and frustrated because the long list of to-dos is not quite disappearing to our satisfaction. With each day comes a new set of challenges, but you can boost your efficiency and celebrate more accomplishments at the end of it with just a few simple steps.

efficient woman

1. Consolidate your mail.

Mail, whether paper or electronic, can be a nuisance to anyone trying to maintain some semblance of efficiency. Reduce paper piles at home by making a beeline to the trash or recycling bin and disposing of the junk mail immediately. Organize your email by creating folders for those messages you would like to keep, and drag the others to the trash can.

2. Learn to say "no."

Most women succumb to "give and give and then give some more" syndrome -- whether that means offering advice, taking on extra tasks at work or volunteering on countless committees at their children's schools. Because of these efforts to help others, women end up making less progress on their own daily lists of essential work. Efficiency for women often means learning to say "no" -- or at least just being less eager to say "yes!" Knowing your priorities will make knowing when to decline more obvious.

3. Schedule in exercise and healthy eating.

If you have to, get up early to plan and prioritize tasks for the day -- and be sure to include focusing on your health. If you are not already in the habit of exercising, start slowly by incorporating brisk walks that eventually lead to runs, or just a few yoga poses per day. When planning the week's meals, plan out your daily snacks as well, building in lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, whole-grain bread and cheese.

4. Multi-task... or not.

While studies show that women are wired genetically to multi-task, it may not be the best idea to respond to your boss' email while catching up with an old friend and dusting the bookshelves.

5. Control interruptions.

Whether it's the kids, a coworker or your neighbor, learn how to stop being sidetracked from the task at hand. Your own brain can be the biggest interruption when its nagging voice starts in reminding you about something else you need to take care of. Instead of grabbing the phone or shooting off an email, write down what you need to do and set it aside for later so that you can focus on completing your current project.

6. Use technology to your advantage.

It's sometimes fashionable, always functional -- and efficient women everywhere consider it an absolute must-have: Technology. Intel was one of the first tech companies to recognize that women are a driving force in technology adoption because of their drive and ability to multi-task, stay organized and keep in touch, so let's prove them correct by actually using the gadgets our natures inspired!

7. Stop trying to be perfect.

You can accomplish some tasks just as successfully even if you don't do them perfectly. Try telling that to the perfectionist, but in reality, trying to do everything perfectly will slow you down and cause a lot of unnecessary stress in your life.

You can learn to be effective without wasting time, effort or expense by incorporating just a few of these steps into your normal routine.

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