What do you do to be more efficient?

I know this isn't the most spiritual resolution in the world, but this Jewish New Year I resolved to become more efficient even though I actually have a reputation for being pretty well-organized. Still when I looked carefully I saw a bit of time bloat going on. Here are some things that I decided to do, that I think I actually can do. Keeping in mind that if you don't have time to do great things in life...you will never do them.

1 - Food prep at night

Let's face it, eating out is expensive and when you stop keeping track you can end up buying a breakfast sandwich, a lunch salad, and a dinner that you don't even like all that much just because you feel crunched for time. Plus if you have kids in school you hassle over what they're going to eat because even if they can buy lunch it won't be all that healthy. By preparing (not cooking; I can't cook) the next day's food the day before, all I have to do is spend half an hour in the a.m. nuking it and packing it up. Everybody has wholewheat bread, a cut up bag of carrots or whatever, some rice chips...healthier and cheaper.

2 - Bundle tasks together

Do work things in a bundle; personal errand things in a bundle; food prep in a bundle; reading in a bundle; blogging in a bundle. Don't go from thing, to thing, and then back to the other thing. Just transitioning from one to the next wastes time.

3 - Leave the TV off unless you're exercising

TV is mostly a waste of time. And by saving it for exercising (download a TV show onto the iPod for example) you get yourself to do something healthy when exercise is usually boring, at least for me.

4 - Exercise when you first wake up

This is a time saver because otherwise (for me) I end up wasting time thinking about the fact that I should exercise, not exercising, and feeling bad. All of that is just dumb. Truth is it's not hard to exercise, you just have to make the commitment. And that's a lot easier to do when you first wake up than when you're tired after work. (Related tip that saves money and time shlepping drink bottles: Drink water with ice and lemon. Cheap, healthy. I put mine in a Starbucks plastic cup so it looks fancy.)

5 - Stop blabbing

Random chitchat, phone calls, gossip...the fifteen minute introduction before meetings start...waste of time. Get going.

6 - Shop on the weekends only

I was running around shopping unnecessarily and it was eating away at my time. I am going to shop on the weekends only and just keep a list during the week. Shopping is a fun activity but not only is it a time sapper (because you end up looking around), it's also expensive (as you end up looking around and not just buying what you came for.)

7 - Aldi

Aldi is small, cheap, and I can get most of what I need there. I wasn't sure about it since Costco was the big name, but when I went there and saw how fast I shopped and low the prices were for really good food - I was sold. It's not perfect (the plums were no good and I would like to see more truly healthy health food) but overall I was happy.

8 - Eliminate distractions

What do you really care about? What really has to get done? Do those things. Forget the rest. Not everything in your email inbox is important.

9 - Clean out your email daily

Before you leave the office every day, file or delete everything in your inbox.

10 - Write down your schedule and then look at it

Oh my G-d. When I saw my daily schedule I could not believe how busy I am. Including all family and work activities, including every day...I am booked solid. It's a real eye opener. When you do that, you will resolve not to do things that waste your time.

OK - no more time on this post - please comment and share your ideas. Thanks!