Tips for efficient working and living

Santosh Kenkre lists out more tips in order to work efficiently and live a fulfilling life

The idea of life is to strive for efficiency and happiness. Neither of which can be sought in mutual exclusion of one another. Here are a few tips that I wish to share with you, tips that I have learned during my near four-decades of professional interactions with high performing individuals.

Focus: Once, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet were having lunch. Bill’s father asked them to spell out the one single trait which had made them so successful. Both said ‘Focus.’ Since this word comes from the world’s two most successful people, we need to learn from it. I have seen many people doing all types of activities in life and then end up being ‘Jack of all.’ It does not mean that one should have only one type of commercial activity and no extracurricular interests. One must contribute to society and also may have more than one commercial activity. But, one should never lose focus of his main commercial activity, which I may say is the ‘bread and butter’ activity. In short, more the focus, more the chances of success. 

Health: It is said ‘Health is Wealth.’ One realises this as one gets older. Youngsters should realise that if they take care of their health in their youth, they can prolong their life and lead a happier life. Two most important contributors for good health are diet and exercise. Frequently eating too oily/salty/sweet/spicy food can ruin one’s health. 30 minutes to 60 minutes daily walk is quintessential for good health. Adequate rest is also necessary. The above can be ignored only at one’s own peril.

Indexation/storage/retrieval system: A robust and efficient system for indexing, storage, and retrieval system goes a long way in efficient working. Many times, files go missing; documents which we handled days back are missing. All this causes loss of time, effort, money and can be unneccessarily stressful.

Be positive and hold no grudges: Your time on earth is measured. Use that time (and life) in being positive towards everything and everyone. This will convert even your enemies to your friends; of course due precautions needs to be taken whilst being positive. Holding grudges can reduce your friend circle. But the worst part is grudges have a harmful effect on your health in the long run. It also slows down your progress in life. Instead, being positive will make your family, staff, customers, suppliers, and friends love you and more importantly be co-operative with you.

Say No: One comes across many opportunities and avenues in life. But life is short, so one should learn to say no to
avenues/work which have low priority for you. I have seen many people who hesitate to say no, thereby wasting time, money, and effort.

Handling Documents: Many people cursorily read a document and then leave it for rereading later. This consumes more time. So, one should read/handle each document only once and pass it on for execution. This will also avoid papers piling up on your table. As discussed earlier, quick decision making also helps clearance of documents.

Keep meetings/conversations short: I am a consultant for Goa University for the last 37 years. They have an important annual meeting, which used to last a full day. Later when Dr. Nigam joined as Vice Chancellor, he finished the meeting in only two hours. If I may dare to say, any meeting/conversation can be concluded tactfully within half the time generally taken if conducted well with co-operation of all. We should learn to keep conversations short and to the point and don’t allow sundry talk, which is exactly what Dr. Nigam did.

Picture this: Ten minutes saved everyday add up 8 days of working time in a year (10 minutes x 365 days ÷ 60 minutes = 61 hrs = 8 days).

Planning your schedule: Such schedules could be for your day, week, month, or a year OR it could encompass your lifetime: Sachin Tendulkar was a student of a school in Dadar (Mumbai), where my aunt was the headmistress. He was enrolled in Dadar, far away from his home in Bandra, since the Dadar School had excellent cricket setup! Such was his planning. We must plan our schedules as per the time and tasks before us. I am told that L.N. Mittal never rushes. He listens to presentations of even junior staff very attentively.

So, always leave some spare time in between appointments/tasks. We try to accomplish maximum in minimum time, thereby doing injustice to some tasks/people. Practice a high level of delegation. Imagine how our 72 years old Prime Minister runs the country with all governance complexities, elections, wars and all. Those who ‘fail to plan’ actually ‘plan to fail.’ Lastly, don’t fail your family since your health is most important for you as well as for your family. Your working style has the maximum impact on your health.

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