The definition of the word efficiency is the fundamental reduction in the amount of wasted resources that are used to produce a given number of goods or services (output).
There are unlimited number of solutions for any problem, however there is usually a much more limited number of efficient ones. The improvement of our societies is based on this logic. How to do what we do with less effort and thought.
As a seasoned martial arts
(Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) instructor/student, I have always been obsessed with finding better paths to reach my goal to save my time and energy. The path to victory is countless. However especially when you have multiple opponents you need to face (just like the troubles we face in our lives) in a continuous time frame, you must be wary of the amount of effort you use. This mindset has helped me in training, in competition, my own business and my overall life routine. Anything we do, is never the ending. There is always something else to be done, there is always something better, harder, further, away to work for. This is the reason why I pursue the more effortless path in everything I do.
Whenever I start doing something repeatedly or in a routine, I start to think "am I doing this efficiently?". If the answer is “no", or "not efficient enough", I look to answer the question "how can I spend less time and energy doing what I'm doing?" (This is obviously a question I tend to ask if whatever I am obliged to do something or need to do in order to achieve something)
You might not always be able to find the answer you are looking for with the time and resources you possess, however the mindset itself helps create new ideas and opens new perspectives. Just because we have been doing something for a long time and it has worked so far does not mean there is not a better way to do that task.
Having a scientific approach to my tasks and routine rather than an emotional one has had tremendous benefits. This might sound silly when saying it like this, but think about it for a second; How easy is it for you to change a habit that you have had for a long time? How easy are you willing to change your mind about an opinion you have had for a long time but is proven to be wrong? How easy is it to change the manner of your workflow? How easy would you agree to changing your computer or phone's operating system? How often do you subconsciously search for the app that you just changed the location on your phone?
Just like any other animal, our first intention is to feel secure before all else. The sense of security comes with knowing what will come so that we can prepare for it. Once our surroundings (habitat) are familiar, we become bolder to act. We create a routine, even if it is a bad and unpleasant one, knowing the outcome gives us comfort. We are creatures of habit. Our brains, although capable of highly sophisticated thinking, does not prefer this path, hence it is a highly energy consuming one. We tend to take shortcuts of which are familiar to us. This also generates the feeling of giving excessive value to the things and ideas we possess, as if they are the best and nothing can ever surpass what we have. The truth however is quite the opposite. Everything can always be replaced and improved.
So, what can we do to open ourselves to new possibilities? The way I found was most helpful to me was to activate the brain's analytical thinking capabilities by asking myself direct questions related to the matter rather than just observing or taking in the immediate conclusions my brain tends to reach from my previous experiences and observations. Just like the scientific method: ask questions, find answers but also tend to look for further answers that will debunk your argument. Assuming you do not have the most efficient answer might be the best way to tackle a task. Stay open minded for improvement and innovation regardless of your status or the task you are tackling.