Quite often I come across blog posts explaining how to be more efficient at something in your life. Usually these posts are filled with quick tips and suggestions on a particular topic. The most common ones I see are for personal finance and time management. For example, here’s one I read recently on Time Management. Now don’t get me wrong, I think these are excellent tips and I already practice quite a few of them. But after you’ve used all these tips and made improvements in your life, what’s next?

What do you do when you’re efficiency is approaching 90% and you’re still not getting the results you want? Or what if you have examined a particular area of your life, possibly tracking everything you do to get an accurate, objective picture of where your money and time is going, and there’s just no more wiggle room left? In a previous post I explored the possibility of doing things differently as a way to make progress. To a certain extent, that helps. In fact, part of my efficiency gain is a direct result of changing how I do things. But alas, that only takes you so far.

So, what’s next?

Originally, I thought I didn’t have an answer, but after some quiet reflection, I realized I do have some idea. I believe the key is to keep making little, incremental improvements and taking the actions you know will move you closer to your goals. In fact, I have found that having taken care of the little things, and savored the easy wins, it’s that much easier to know what you should be doing. Instead of being mired in minutiae, you can place your focus on what’s important.

Now, it’s easy to get impatient (which is one of the things I’m struggling with) but if you can hold in your mind a clear picture of the end result you are striving for, you will eventually get there. In The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy explains that little changes, done consistently, add up to big effects over time. I truly believe that’s the answer; patience and incremental improvement. Darren Hardy does a way better job of explaining this than I ever will so head over to the book’s website and download the free chapter. It explains in detail what I’ve only scratched the surface of here (and when you’re done reading the first chapter, buy the book, the rest of it is even better!).

Only time will tell if this strategy truly works, but the time will pass anyway (as I know all too well) so I figure it’s worth my while to try and make things better.

- Dave