The Unbearable Luxury Of Efficiency (or “Sometimes It’s Enough That It’s Done”)


Nothing in my life is efficient right now.

And I know I’m not alone in this. Most of my emails, both coming and going, begin with “sorry this took so long…”

With all the changes, disruptions, turmoil and emotional upheaval we’re experiencing, right now it feels like a win if I can just… Get. A. Thing. Done.

From Efficiency To Survival

The era of obsessing over which workplace app will help us get something done just a little faster and more efficiently feels like a quaint, bygone time right now.

The era of obsessing over which workplace app will help us get something done just a little faster and more efficiently feels like a quaint, bygone time right now. Click To Tweet

This is a very different standard for me. For most of my 40+ years in pastoral ministry I haven’t just been trying to get tasks done, I’ve been trying to get them done well, done with purpose, done with excellence.

Efficiency wasn’t the goal, but it was an essential tool in getting to those goals. Like a runner attempting to shave a few seconds off my performance time, I figured those seconds would accumulate and really add up to something.

And, for the most part, they did.

Not any more.

Now I feel less like a runner trying to improve my track time, and more like someone scrambling through the woods, trying to keep the horror movie monsters off my heels.

When it’s a major accomplishment just to get to the finish line each day, efficiency feels like a luxury. One that I can’t afford right now.

When it's a major accomplishment just to get to the finish line each day, efficiency feels like a luxury. One that I can't afford right now. Click To Tweet

So, if this feels at all familiar to you, what can we do about it?

Adjust.

Adjust Your Expectations

As I wrote in When A Sprint Becomes A Marathon: Pastoring In A Long-Term Pandemic, we need to change our pace from sprint mode to marathon mode.

We need to adjust our expectations

  • From perfection to completion
  • From multiple tasks to one task
  • From excellent to competent
  • From high efficiency to reasonable accomplishments

No, this is not giving up.

It’s not lazy.

And it’s not permanent.

In a long-term crisis situation, we need to adjust our pace, not abandon our principles. Click To Tweet

In a long-term crisis situation, we need to adjust our pace, not abandon our principles.

Give Yourself A Break

Find more places and times to rest than you normally need. See them as the necessity they are right now.

Let go of the drive towards relentless efficiency.

Give yourself – and others – a break.

Right now, finding ways to nourish your heart, spirit, body and soul is more important than obsessing over a more efficient way to get things done.


For more resources on leading a smaller congregation through uncertain times, check out SPARK Online at KarlVaters.com.




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Copyright © by KarlVaters.com. Click here to request permission to reprint.

(Photo by Robert Bye | Unsplash)

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