“Time is money”.
All too often, North American life is all about the results.
You need to coordinate and plan your day so as to make the largest possible contribution in the smallest possible time.
At a very young age, we are taught, and accept, these apparent truths.
The North American view of time separates us from many places around the world. To us, time is the most precious resource.
In North America, people are known for what they accomplish. I have been to many recognition speeches where people retell the accomplishments of an individual. We have our own expectations for those who ‘rise to the top’: results. Life and business are all about the results. Thus, what we accomplish is synonymous with who we are.
In my home country, Papua New Guinea, people are known for the relationships they build. It was not until recently that I figured out why there are so many inefficient business leaders in this country – success is not measured by accomplishments, but by relationships. A person rises to leadership because of who they are, not what they do.
The Five Lies That Efficiency and Productivity Tell
Efficiency and productivity say you are too busy and too important to take a vacation.
Some people don’t take vacations because they cannot afford the time. There is too much to do. The lie is that we are too busy for a vacation. The world needs me and depends on me too much for me to be gone for a week.
God, on the other hand, in his Sabbath teaching reminds us that he is in control, so we should trust him and relax. The world is run by God, not by us.
Interestingly, taking a break removes you from temporarily being productive. Ultimately though, you return invigorated and energized. This does result in the ability to accomplish more in the long run.
Efficiency and productivity tell us that getting things done is more important than helping people.
Efficiency without purpose is extremely dangerous. In other words, you can be so efficient at the wrong things that you accomplish nothing in this life that is truly meaningful. I am a task oriented person, so it is a challenge to put people before things.
Jesus tells the story of some religious leaders who wouldn’t help an injured man because they had meetings to attend to. This, we are reminded, is not right. People supersede things.
Remember, life is often more about the interruptions than the plans. Henri Nowen aptly says, “Ministry is in the interruptions”.
Efficiency and productivity tell us that you are defined by what you accomplish.
Do you think God will be excited to see your resume? The idea of accomplishment makes it so hard for us to accept this foreign concept called grace. We work and work to earn the favor of parents, friends, and co-workers. It is so hard for us to grasp the concept that God accepts us for who we are, not for what we do.
God made us and he chose us before we did anything. It’s unconditional. You are who you are because of who you belong to, (God) not because of what you’ve accomplished.
Efficiency and productivity tell us that doing something trumps being someone.
Morals, values, and ethics are the greatest currencies in life. Why, then, do so many people sell out for money? They sell out because they want to achieve results. The ends justify the means. The product is all that matters. So we twist, manipulate, and even break our conscience so we can produce another result.
Yet, Jesus asks, what good is it if a man gains the whole world yet forfeits his soul?
I once read that we are human beings, not human doings.
Efficiency and productivity tell us that stress, burden, and pressure are good.
Sure, there is good stress; it’s just that most of us have bad stress. We give, give, and give to the point of exhaustion and fatigue. We accept the sleepless nights, the long business trips, and the constant headache all for the sake of producing. Sure, we might be miserable, but at least people see some great results.
Jesus reminds us that his yoke is easy. He doesn’t need us to earn his love or respect.
Is there ever a time to forget about being efficient and productive? What other lies have we believed about efficiency and productivity?