Efficiency is Sometimes Inefficient

When you’re looking at your project or task list it is easy to get caught in trying to minimize your investment of time, effort or money.

But be beware, the time you spend figuring and planning is sometimes a substitute for starting a straightforward task.

Some situations to consider:

  • How long do you spend looking for a bargain on an item that is a fairly minor expenditure?
  • Is your task list system or software taking a long time to become useful?
  • Do you pursue 98% flawlessness when 85% is great for this draft or proposal?
  • Do you ask your team to follow a specific guideline when a bit of flexibility might generate more initiative along with the minor disorganization?
  • Do you wait to pay bills until they’re all in, when it might be more pleasant to break up your days by paying a few at a time?
  • Do you always pay off the highest interest loan or credit card even when paying off a small balance on a low interest card might feel good and clear additional space in your attention?

When I was young my parents gently chastised me for trying to carry too many grocery bags at once or too many dishes to the sink. They called this a “lazy-man’s load.” They pointed out that to save a return trip I was risking dropping my whole load—short-term it felt efficient, but the actual outcome was potentially very wasteful.

It may be a good to ask yourself:

  • “Is doing this task this way actually efficient, or am I putting roadblocks in my way of getting things done?”
  • “Am I paying attention to the fact that I may be wasting a lot of time strategizing something that just needs doing?”
  • “Would just starting probably get me done a bit faster?”

If you’re ready to point out how much can be gained by planning, considering and minimizing your investment, we want to agree with you. It certainly isn’t prudent or judicious to just bust ahead. But be very careful if you often have tasks that languish and lists that grow faster than you can prune them. It may make sense to try a few experiments with a “just do some little things” approach.

And stay alert to your feelings. Task lists and projects are not done with organization alone. They often require momentum, enthusiasm and creativity and those can be generated by getting some small things out of the way, even if you’re a bit inefficient while doing them.

If you like practical, straightforward ideas that can increase effectiveness for you and your team, give us a call. We listen and help you find the ideas that get things moving in new directions. We are experienced experts on the people side of business. That means you, your clients and patients, and your team.