I started driving a tractor by myself around age 7, maybe 8. It’s not as dangerous as it may seem because I only went about 3.5 mph most of the time, and it’s difficult to do much damage at that high rate of sloth-ness.
As I got older, I realized my time would seemingly go faster if I cut the work into smaller chunks. I mean it makes sense, right? This is what we’re taught throughout our life–if you have a goal, break it down to tackle it.
I remember one time in particular, I broke a section of plowing into three parts. I was constantly turning and turning around, and as a result, it felt like time was passing faster.
The problem: I was actually being less effective.
Every minute spent with the plow out of the ground, or re-plowing ground that had already been plowed was a waste not only of time, but of fuel. Wasted time and wasted fuel means wasted money.
Efficiency isn’t always flashy. It was fun to constantly make turns, to raise and lower the plow. It was more mentally engaging. But at the end of the day, it was a waste.
The same is true for your leadership. Efficiency isn’t always flashy. There is something you’re doing right now that could either 1) be accomplished better by someone else or 2) be finished faster if you spent less time with the plow out of the ground.
Maybe it’s how you plan for events, or the way you train those you lead.
Maybe you’re lack of efficiency is in doing something you’re actually not good at doing.
For me, it’s graphic design. I enjoy the mental challenge of design, but it tends to be a black hole in my schedule. I can create something simple and effective in 5-10 minutes, and then spend 3 hours adding subtle differences that I find fascinating, but most people will never notice.
So efficiency means limiting the time I allow myself to spend on it, or even trusting someone else to do it completely. It’s exciting to try 7 different shades of a color. It’s mundane to move on.
So the question becomes: Are you willing to endure the mundane to increase efficiency? What do you need to cut or limit (or bring someone alongside) to maximize your gifting? What are you waiting for?