08 September 2014

Now Is My Time #34: The Downfall Of Efficiency


As I was buzzing along last week, doing my daily list of too many things, I started thinking about my love of efficiency -- and then I had a light bulb moment.

I don't know how I got to be so intense about efficiency but I think it may have come from my agrarian family. Work hard, work fast, get it done, don't drag it out. Now, the idea of being efficient is to save time, right? So that should mean I get my work done faster so that I don't have to work for so long, right? I should be getting some time back or more me time or something.

Here was my light bulb moment: If you are working harder and faster to get things done, that does NOT mean you should add more and more work to the list because you have the time. The idea is to get the work done so you have more free/down time.

I am doing myself a disservice. Taking on more work has become more of a punishment for my extra effort to be effective at my daily tasks. So I'm taking on more, tiring myself out more, and it becomes a bit of a never-ending, exhausting cycle. There is always something else to do or more to add to the list...since I have the time. (That doesn't guarantee I have the energy. It probably just means I will feel like I should be doing MORE work and shouldn't be "wasting" valuable time.)

So what exactly was the point of all my drive to be efficient? In essence, it was just serving to wear me out more. Wow. Big realization. I am still pondering all this and trying to find my comfortable middle ground with my drive to be efficient and my ability to say "that's enough."

Being able to be hyper-efficient and take on large amounts of work can be a great trait for short spurts such as when you are moving or an emergency hits. But I don't think one is meant to run on that kind of high intensity all the time.

So I need to slow it down or figure out a way not to run in overdrive most days when third gear is just right for what needs to get done, the speed required and weight of work that needs to be taken on.

So friends, what can you share and teach me here? How do you manage your daily work loads and well-being? When do you say "enough is enough" and stop the whirlwind of your day? And what do you do then?

image via mca

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