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10 organisation and efficiency hacks to make you more productive

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Victoria Gray
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According to John Lennon "time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted." But time you don't enjoy wasting - for instance sorting through a jumbled pile of tupperware to find the right lid, or procrastinating at work and finding you've achieved very little by the end of the day - can be infuriating.

But there are lots of little ways to save valuable time both at work and at home, so that you have more time to spend on the things you really enjoy. Here are our favourite organisation and efficiency hacks, to start that process off.

Create a master shopping list

Note down which order supermarkets keep products in for a quick shop

If you're constantly running back and forth through the supermarket aisles because you forgot something located all the way on the other side of the store, it's worth taking a bit of time to note what order your local shop keeps food in. Then create a shopping list of your usuals, organised by location that you can save on your phone, or print off for a quick, efficient shop.

Live by the "two-minute rule"

Famous productivity life coach David Allen set this rule: if you are given something to do that will take two minutes or less, do it now. Adding it to a to-do list and remembering to do it later adds extra time to the activity, so replying to an email could take up ten minutes of your time by reminding yourself to reply, then going over what was said, as well as the two minutes to type out a reply, so save time by doing it now.

Add a rail under the sink to reach cleaning products easily

Use a rail to be able to reach your cleaning products easily

The cupboard under the sink is always a pain to delve into, particularly if you're looking for a particular spray in a red-wine-on-the-carpet emergency amongst the cluttered bottles of cleaning products. But installing a short curtain rod under the sink means you can hang cleaning sprays from it to reach easily. And hopefully become more keen on cleaning as a result.

Set a monetary value on your work time

Most of us know how much we earn per hour - or it's easy to calculate by dividing a monthly salary by 20 (the average amount of working days in a month), then by the average amount of hours you work each day. So if you spend an hour a day on Facebook, think how much that's costing you. If you know how much your time is worth, you will use it more efficiently, both at work and away from it.

Use an old CD rack to store tupperware lids

It's a sad fact of the modern world that our CD collections are more or less useless now, with all our music stored on computers and in clouds. But you can repurpose a CD holder to store tupperware lids so that you don't waste ten minutes every morning trying to find which one fits the box you've pulled out to put your lunch in.

Store tupperware lids with a CD rack

Say no three times a day

It can be hard to delegate tasks at work, but if you keep it in mind that you can't say yes to everything, it will help you prioritise. Saving three 'no's a day will help you cut down on working overtime, seeing 'energy vampire' friends, and agreeing to plans you don't want to do - leaving space to say yes to everything you enjoy, as well as achieving more. Hello productivity!

Use pegs, hair clips, or even Lego to tidy up wires

Tangled wires are the scourge of most office spaces, with keyboards, speakers, headphones and so on coming out of every port possible. Keep them separate with pegs, or claw-shaped hair grips so that if somebody pulls a plug out by accident, you'll know where it is instantly. Or keep loose USB wires in place by using a Lego figure to add a bit of fun to your desk.

This Lego man makes keeping wires organised easy

Find lost items quickly with the hoover

If you've lost a butterfly from your earring, a button or a contact lens, don't waste time scrabbling around on the floor trying to look for it (particularly if it's a contact). Just stretch a pair of old tights over your vacuum nozzle and scan the area with it. The hoover will draw the item in, but not suck it up - hey presto!

Find out which clothes you really wear

The age old I-have-nothing-to-wear dilemma can be dealt with by streamlining your wardrobe. Hang all your clothes up with the hangers facing one way, and when you wear something and put it back, turn the hanger around. Within a couple of months, you'll find out which clothes you wear (and therefore like) least, and they can be filtered out - making it a lot easier to pick what to wear.

Make a 'leaving the house' playlist

If you end up putting your make up on, tidying up, changing clothes and finding your keys all at once every time you need to go somewhere, give yourself a time limit. Make a playlist that's fifteen or twenty minutes long and put it on, knowing you've got to get out the door by the time the last song finishes. You'll find yourself suddenly getting ready quicker. Plus the music will put you in a good mood as you head out.

Words: Victoria Gray, Images: Buzzfeed/Craftly/Rex Features

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Victoria Gray

Victoria is a contributor for Stylist.co.uk. She covers lifestyle and food pieces for the site. When on the internet she can be found tweeting feverishly about Great British Bake Off, and offline she is never happier than when in the company of some wine and cheese.

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