Efficiency is the Enemy of Humanity
I started complaining about back-to-back meetings six years ago, but change is slow. I came across research that proves back-to-back meetings aren’t efficient.
Intoxicated with self-importance:
I feel important when I rush.
The more I rush, the more I need to rush. Few things intoxicate me with self-importance better than rushing from one meeting to the next. After all, unimportant people don’t need to rush. But we have things upside-backwards.
Truly important people don’t rush.
Important people don’t need to prove how important they are. Rushing indicates lack of self-awareness, poor time management, inability to prioritize and delegate, lack of trust in others, poor hiring practices, and a bucket load of other indictments, not the least being cowardice.
Courage to embrace the efficiency of inefficiency:
Most of us fear not-doing.
Breaks are efficient because productivity goes down when you’re wore out. But rest is for the weak. Right? We grow comfortable feeling stressed and distressed doing nothing. The problem is lack of courage.
Find courage to accept yourself if break-taking scares you. You aren’t Superman or Wonder Woman.
Rest and efficiency:
Fatigue is not efficient.
Is it inefficient to put gas in your car? Fuel enables efficiency. Lack of fuel prolongs inefficiency. The machine is completely inefficient when the tank is empty.
Rest is fuel for humans. (Too much rest is exhausting, but healthy rest is invigorating.)
Life is easier when there’s gas in your tank. Productivity goes up. Creativity comes back.
Anyone committed to excellence takes short breaks. And if you decide to take short breaks between meetings, don’t try to squeeze work into break time.
Tip: Don’t wait till the weekend to put gas in your tank.
Here’s a simple practice you might try. How to Mentally Prepare for Your Next Meeting in only 3-Minutes
How are you refueling the machine?
Research that might be helpful: Research Proves Your Brain Needs Breaks (microsoft.com)
For me, this post was a good reminder to be always alert for “the tyranny of the urgent over the important.” Even in retirement, and freedom from seemingly endless meetings, I can find myself slipping into the trap of being driven by urgency (even the self-created kind) rather than true importance. Staying focused on my life’s mission, goals and roles has become more intentional as I have grown older (and overcome some big health challenges). I appreciate your posts and the guidance they provide to help me be a more effective leader in my family and community.
My lovely wife calls my fuel “sleepy lay-down.” My grandpa arose between 4:30-5:00 every morning (me too). He went for a 10-15 minute nap every afternoon (me too). Sometimes I sleep, sometimes I lay there with my eyes closed and practice breathing. When the timer goes off, I’m reset. He worked into his 70s. I hope to do the same, convinced that daily “sleepy lay-down” is one of the essential practices to promote longevity.
Historically, the main goal of efficiency programmes from time and motion to lean sigma has been the control or removal of “weak” humanity from systems. Hence the drive to turn people into units of production, without bringing their human “weaknesses” to the workplace.
Life is about choices.
Some people will choose looking busy over looking efficient.
Sometimes that appears to be expected/rewarded to move up or get the higher performance review/raise.
I try not to make that choice unless I am “coached” into it, due to “optics”.
Then I have to celebrate my busy-ness to fit in.
I’d prefer to be efficient, and then be efficient again. It’s sort of like busy, you still move from task to task. Just looks a bit different, and a lot less headaches.
It’s very tough to try to be efficient when others around you expect busy, and want to see you included on everything.
As I said, life is about choices. Right now, I’m still good living with mine.
I also choose to subscribe and read Leadership Freak.
Always nice to to have a place with good ideas to stay connected to!