5

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Getting more done in a day, tips to increase time efficiency? Prioritization?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 30, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Does anyone had any tips, tricks, and/or thoughts to getting more done in a day and also how to determine priorities?

I'm starting to get my life back together after a rough past couple of years and I am trying to figure out how to increase my efficiency. First I made my health a priority and went paleo/primal and focused on getting 7.5-8.5hrs of sleep. I'm feeling great and starting to pull out of a deep depression. Now I am trying to get my career back on track but it seems like it's a tug of war with my health because of time constraints. Do I prioritize learning & skill building over sleep? Do I eat out in order to save time? How about exercise & hobbies? Other than work the majority of my time is spent cooking or cleaning from cooking, commuting, exercising/hobbies, and playing with pets.

-Do most of you cook food in really large batches so you don't have to cook often or do you just eat out and supplement with fish oil? I often go through a few pounds of meat in a day or two so I am going to have to cook a lot of meat.

-Which is a bigger priority the majority of the time: eat mostly at home so you can get a more ideal paleo meal or eat out to save some time?

-Do/did any of you use a schedule to help get a pattern/structure down? I've been thinking of setting an alarm for 9:30 every night to make sure I get to bed by 10pm. Maybe make Sunday afternoons cooking time so I can have food the rest of the week.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on August 02, 2012
at 02:16 PM

I've never had a problem. Anything left the next Sunday, which is rare, is tossed.

091423a30c0188fbff51e39397e7e056

(384)

on August 02, 2012
at 02:25 AM

Will foods like cooked ground beef and steamed cauliflower actually last 6 days? I've heard the limit is 2-3

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on July 31, 2012
at 09:43 AM

Riiiiiiight, that's why the paleolithic caves in France had paintings of fields of wheat, corn, pineapples, raspberries, and plums... not animals and hunters chasing them down. Next time, please add "Trolololo" at the end of your answer if you're going to troll

C437950dbbfbe7a2b7885cec8f002826

(75)

on July 30, 2012
at 08:27 PM

Thank for for the info and the detailed schedule!

C437950dbbfbe7a2b7885cec8f002826

(75)

on July 30, 2012
at 08:27 PM

Thank you everyone for the feedback!

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on July 30, 2012
at 07:59 PM

What does not eating meat in the spirit of re-enactment have to do with efficiency?

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on July 30, 2012
at 07:57 PM

When I spend a couple hours to cook a bunch of food on Sundays it saves me so much time during the week; I've been doing it for a few months and it's a godsend.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on July 30, 2012
at 07:57 PM

The meat keeps dried. The meat keeps for a few days fresh. The meat keeps frozen in the snow.

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on July 30, 2012
at 07:57 PM

When I spend a couple hours to cook a bunch of food on Sundays it saves me so much time during the week; I've been doing it for a few months and it's a godsens.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on July 30, 2012
at 07:46 PM

Totally agree, Sunday prep day saves me every single week (not only time and pain, but lots of money). Plus, it's a chance to listen to my favorite weekly history podcast and nobody can disturb me!

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on July 30, 2012
at 06:53 PM

So misinformed. What about small game?

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7 Answers

6
61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on July 30, 2012
at 06:52 PM

I cook enough to have leftovers for another meal or two for the entire family. I will often prep a bunch of meal components on Sunday to make weeknight meals easier, e.g. chop onions, cook ground beef, grill chicken, rice and steam cauliflower, etc. This allows me to throw prepped components together with some spices and have a meal on the table in under 15 minutes. I also try to use as few pots and pans as possible. I HATE cleaning the kitchen, so the fewer dishes that need to be washed, the happier I am!

We rarely eat out. The money and time I used to spend in restaurants funds the purchase and prep of better quality ingredients.

Sleep schedule is important to my well being. I put the youngest to bed at 9 and then head to my bedroom. I try to be asleep by 10, but that doesn't always work. I usually wake up sometime between 4:30 and 5:30, naturally. Unfortunately, I found that if I go to bed earlier, I am awake even earlier, which sucks. I'm hoping this will change when the days start getting shorter and dawn isn't breaking into my bedroom at 4:30.

C437950dbbfbe7a2b7885cec8f002826

(75)

on July 30, 2012
at 08:27 PM

Thank you everyone for the feedback!

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on July 30, 2012
at 07:46 PM

Totally agree, Sunday prep day saves me every single week (not only time and pain, but lots of money). Plus, it's a chance to listen to my favorite weekly history podcast and nobody can disturb me!

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on July 30, 2012
at 07:57 PM

When I spend a couple hours to cook a bunch of food on Sundays it saves me so much time during the week; I've been doing it for a few months and it's a godsens.

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on July 30, 2012
at 07:57 PM

When I spend a couple hours to cook a bunch of food on Sundays it saves me so much time during the week; I've been doing it for a few months and it's a godsend.

091423a30c0188fbff51e39397e7e056

(384)

on August 02, 2012
at 02:25 AM

Will foods like cooked ground beef and steamed cauliflower actually last 6 days? I've heard the limit is 2-3

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on August 02, 2012
at 02:16 PM

I've never had a problem. Anything left the next Sunday, which is rare, is tossed.

4
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on July 31, 2012
at 10:12 AM

Food:

In the spring, summer, and fall, I BBQ as much as I'll be able to eat for the whole week ahead and store it in the fridge in pyrex containers.

Then, each morning, it's just grab some combination of meats, veggies, and salad leaves, maybe a hunk of frozen bison liver pate, or canned smoked oysters (which I squeeze the oil out of since it comes in canola), frozen Guac, olives, etc. and place them in a 3 cup pyrex container. I also cut and wrap up half a lemon with my lunch and a coconut water or two, maybe a small ziplock bag of blueberries as well.

I keep a bottle of olive oil at work, so when I'm ready to each lunch, put some olive oil and squeeze the lemon. Work has coffee, so I keep a small bottle of coconut cream that I mixed in coconut oil with to keep it longer and solid, and use this as a creamer.

Snacks are macadamias (when I can find them), pistachios, almonds, or beef jerky.

It's very rare that I eat out. Only sometimes to hang out with friends, but that's usually just drinks, and not always food.

** Sleep: **

You won't be able to build skills if you don't have sleep, or you'll be very inefficient at best as sleep is require to digest what you've learned. You can play around with DMAE, or piracetam, ginko, or other nootropics to help memory, but without adequate sleep, you're sabotaging every aspect of your life.

Use something like F.Lux to naturally wean yourself off the computer/tablet/phone at night. Avoid TV at night, or watch it earlier if possible.

** Commute **

Make the most of your commute. If you're on a train or bus, it's perfect to bring a tablet or notebook computer with you - I use firefox to open a ton of tabs early in the morning and read the news on the train, or watch something, which can be CBTs or entertainment. I also walk to/from the train station to work which is about 20-30mins each way, during this time I listen to podcasts or music.

Exercise:

I tend to do a large fasted workout on either Saturday or Sunday, and eat the 1st meal an hour or two after which contains both carbs and protein. This is usually the time I eat most of my carbs, and go VLC the rest of the week. It's either a sweet potato or a banana depending on what I have.

I walk to/from work as I said above, so that's plenty of "cardio" :) I also walk for about an hour during the lunch hour and eat at my desk.

If I want to get through a plateau, I do one or two sets of an exercise - sometimes with very low weights and large number of reps, in the morning before going to work, and this seems to burn right through the plateaus. I can do this almost every day as long as it's different muscle groups and generally takes about 10-15 minutes at most.

Hobbies:

Only on weekends, no time during the week.

Organizing

Try a system like Getting Things Done for organizing long term tasks, and maybe use something like the Pomodoro System for timing work. There are articles and videos on the 'net for these things, search around and see what works for you. Here's one, and another., and another. Here's one on getting your email under control: inbox to zero.

1
4e6baf393fd5f339ae5a92ffbeadc884

on July 31, 2012
at 07:45 PM

If you focus on productivity rather than busyness then getting enough sleep, exercise and nutrition are not alternatives to good time management but a pre-requiste, and therefore worth the investment even if seeming to conflict with other goals. As you asked for opinions mine are:

  • Don't compromise your sleep
  • Don't eat out to save time as food quality is likely to be lower than you can prepare at home, but if it is part of your social life then that is worthwhile
  • Preparing food ahead of time is time well spent

Time management is a discipline of its own, but its worth the effort of finding an approach that works for you. Time management can't really tell you what your priorities are, but when you have decided them for yourself then it can help you achieve them.

For a free time management system that, whilst not exactly Paleo, does I think, chime well with an emphasis on natural attention management and an (admittedly fairly basic) evolutionary perspective I can recommend.

http://www.markforster.net/

Although there are a thousand other time management systems that may work better for you!

1
F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on July 30, 2012
at 08:00 PM

Being a disorganized person by nature I simply take things one day at a time. I will wake up one day and think of the things I need and then plan how to get them all in a single trip. I will look in the fridge and figure out something to cook with what I have. I keep cans of fish and a can opener in my office. Today I forgot my can opener so I walked to the store and bought some potatoes for the microwave. One day at a time, totally disorganized. Seems to work out okay. 47 years of this and counting...

1
F5be4be097edc85690c12d67ee1a27c0

on July 30, 2012
at 07:47 PM

Kurtis - I'll let you know how my boyfriend and I do it.

We set up a strict schedule of what we are going to be doing most weeks unless something throws a wrench in our schedule.

Workout Schedule (We stick to this hardcore unless we are sick or something comes up)

  • Sunday: Weights
  • Monday: Muay Thai
  • Tuesday: Rest
  • Wednesday: Weights
  • Thursday: Muay Thai
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Rest

Food Schedule:

  • Sunday: Brunch (eat out), Dinner (Cook at Home)
  • Monday: Cook at Home
  • Tuesday: Cook at Home
  • Wednesday: Cook at Home
  • Thursday: Either cook at home or eat out
  • Friday: Cook at Home
  • Saturday: Fast until Dinner when we eat out

I let my frozen meat sit out all day. When I get home, I prep whatever I need to cook for dinner. Then we can take the dogs out, exercise, do whatever... when I get home from that, I can easily cook up dinner in 30-45 minutes.

I don't do any prepping on Sundays or anything like that. Prepping earlier in the day helps me out just as much.

I hope this helps... I thought I'd struggle with the amount of stuff we try to get done in a day, but I really don't. There is always a way to cook up an at-home meal, even if it means throwing down a couple hamburger patties, tacos, or spaghetti.

C437950dbbfbe7a2b7885cec8f002826

(75)

on July 30, 2012
at 08:27 PM

Thank for for the info and the detailed schedule!

0
C0c839648b31512515daaffe8e4e9ad1

on August 02, 2012
at 01:02 AM

I cook food in large batches. Like hard-boiling all dozen eggs at the same time, and steaming as many veggies as will fit in my steamer at one time, and then just taking them out of my fridge at mealtime to stick together in a bowl and eat cold.. its actually really tasty and easy! And healthy. I also cook more meat than I can eat in one sitting, so that I have enough for several days. I usually end up cooking about one easy thing per day, like just fish or just ground beef or just vegetables.

Also, in order to get organized I have started using Springpad. It is an online notebook that is easy to access from anywhere and now has newer and better features, like setting reminders and creating checklists and calendars, and bookmarking sites and recipes. I tried Evernote, but it was too bulky for me. Real paper doesn't work for me also.

I also use Grocery IQ to plan my weekly food purchases. I don't eat out, and groceryiq.com helps by telling me ahead of time how much my shopping list will cost etc. I love it. I actually enter all the things from my receipts on there to get a more precise answer.

I'd like to know what other websites/resources people are using to get more efficient?

-4
76063d813a714f045d4b30aaef3f7063

on July 30, 2012
at 06:52 PM

Speaking true to the latin root paleo, the healthiest most efficient diet would be seasonal fruits and vegetables and nuts on the go. most tribes would never be eating meat. only after the strongest men had spent days chasing a wild animal and even then how would the meat keep? it wouldn't. the deer would be eaten in a feast arrangement. so unless your sitting down with others what is there to cook? take it to the next level and avoid mealtime. the digestive track prefers a foragers mind.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on July 30, 2012
at 07:57 PM

The meat keeps dried. The meat keeps for a few days fresh. The meat keeps frozen in the snow.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on July 31, 2012
at 09:43 AM

Riiiiiiight, that's why the paleolithic caves in France had paintings of fields of wheat, corn, pineapples, raspberries, and plums... not animals and hunters chasing them down. Next time, please add "Trolololo" at the end of your answer if you're going to troll

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on July 30, 2012
at 07:59 PM

What does not eating meat in the spirit of re-enactment have to do with efficiency?

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on July 30, 2012
at 06:53 PM

So misinformed. What about small game?

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