Notes written in a JPArtwork A6 Lined Ladybook notebook during a lesson on Efficiency.

'The Efficiency Laundry' | The Daily Artfart

How ironic is it to arrive late to an Efficiency lesson? Because if it wasn't for 'Dad's Taxi' saving me yet again, that's the predicament I would've been in 🤦🏻‍♀️ and it's all because I'd almost convinced myself out of going and was getting ready at a snail pace. I was vaguely aware this was an intentional attempt to run so late it would be 'pointless to go anyway' meaning I could justify staying home; in hindsight I'm glad Dad offered a lift so I had no choice but to go (and be pretty much bang on time!)

The session started with learning about 4 types of habit - all of which can effect our ability to be efficient - and we were recommended to look up a questionnaire by Gretchen Rubin to discover which we are (she calls them 'The 4 Tendencies').

Turns out I'm an Obliger (take 'The 4 Tendencies Quiz' yourself) and it makes sense; she describes an Obliger as someone who will '[...] meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet inner expectations.' which is true but the most accurate part was written further down:

'The weight of outer expectations can make Obligers susceptible to burnout, because they often have trouble setting limits or telling people “no.” They may, in fact, reach the point of “Obliger-rebellion,” a striking pattern in which they abruptly refuse to meet an expectation. Obliger-rebellion may take a form that’s small and symbolic, like deliberately being late to work. Or Obliger-rebellion may be dramatic and far-reaching, like abruptly quitting a job, getting a divorce, or ending a long friendship, with the feeling, “I’ve had it. This is over. You’re dead to me.”

[...] Obligers may find it difficult to form a habit, because often we undertake habits for our own benefit, without others’ oversight.'

This literally hit the nail on the head: OBLIGER-REBELLION!

Holy macaroni this is me in a nutshell!! I've been struggling immensely with deadlines, or to be more exact I struggle to even care about deadlines; I let them creep up and to put it frankly, I fail to give a shit. This is hardly the attitude I want to be taking on because it's effective at only one thing; failing miserably, which is the one thing I'm trying desperately not to do. 🤦🏻‍♀️

I mean if we refer back to the fact I almost sabotaged going to the meeting and look at it from this new perspective: I'd planned to go and was quickly refusing to meet the expectation. I was either going to be late or not turn up at all and whichever it was it would have been intentional (not that I'd of admitted it though). 

Being in a state of Obliger-Rebellion is my biggest poison against efficiency, and although it's crap to admit I find it's helpful to identify and own it. Owning it gives me back some of the power which is useful to fight back with.

We focused on listing things which makes us inefficient, here's a few of them:

  • faffing about

  • being over-whelmed because you've set a task too big

  • perfectionism ('if I can't do it perfectly, I won't do it at all')

  • analysis paralysis (too much choice + over analysis = paralysis)

  • fer/anxiety

  • stressing over time

  • re-routing (start a task, then another, then another, then another...)

  • Interruptions

  • Self criticism

  • Stuff (clutter - a cluttered space, makes for a cluttered mind)

  • failing to plan

  • doing something really well that doesn't need to be done (avoiding the task by doing anything but..)

  • procrastination

I can tick off everything above as contributors to my inefficiency, and i'm interested to hear what your thoughts are! 

What kind of things make you inefficient? 

Which Tendency are you and how do you feel about it? Is it accurate?

My next blog post will cover strategies and what works well for increasing efficiency and forming habits; we covered some great ideas and I can't wait to share them with you.

I suggest writing down everything you've identified so far - including your own ideas, and have the notes ready to add the strategies to! I wrote all of these down in one of my Ladybird notebooks (it's so friggin' cute I couldn't resist) so I know I won't be forgetting them!

One more thing I took away from today: Things that can be done 'any time' are often never done. 
If you can do it right away and in no time at all...just do it!


Hey Paula! I really did find the session incredibly beneficial and can’t thank you enough for holding it! It gave me a much needed kick up the backside to be more efficient and crack on with everything instead of avoiding it all – after all, jobs don’t do themselves and ‘stuff’ doesn’t disappear if ignored…! I do find shopping can be overwhelming sometimes with so much choice, but I don’t find it paralysing in the way you do! I bet you’re glad you don’t have to face supermarkets like those in the US – they have so much more choice than here it’s almost anxiety inducing just thinking about it!
I’m glad you appreciate my honesty, I want to show that behind the art and the computer screen I’m human too and we can all relate in different ways – both with successes and struggles in life! :)

Jenny Pond

I am so impressed and grateful that you got so much out of our session! Thank you for summarising it so perfectly. I love your honesty too.

I am a Gretchen Rueben questioner and suffer from too much choice. From choosing ketchup to a new camera – there are so many options and prices and packages! So now I set myself a research time limit and avoid supermarket shopping for routine things – I always buy the same ketchup anyway! I shop online and have it delivered and the App just brings up what I want – not every thing on the whole shelf in one go.

I can’t wait to read your next blog!


Hi Jo! Im glad this helped remind you to sort those strategies out! It really does help when you put your mind to it, but I know it’s so easy to let life get in the way – even after a lesson on how important it is to prioritise! Fortunately I came away inspired, and have made several changes since – but time well tell if they stick or not! Have a great day! :D JP x

Jenny Pond

This is great and thank you for the prompt to do the quiz and get planning. I really enjoyed the session but as always I came away, got on with everything else that takes over my life and completely put this to the side. I will get planning my strategies today so thanks for the reminder 😁

Jo Ventham

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