Why I am an Efficiency Zealot
I have come to the conclusion that inefficiency is one of my biggest bugbears.
There are at least three possible reasons for my reaching this point.
Firstly, it may be that living with a son who is a highly trained engineer and drills efficiency into everything we do in the home started it.
It may also be the continual drive to manage my time, my email inbox and my meeting schedule which has led me to seek better ways of managing my time and my activities.
Or it may simply be that the complexity of managing multi-site, multi layered organisations, growing at pace, brings increasing challenges which need ever efficient management skills, systems and styles.
Whatever the cause, I am now an efficiency zealot.
Now, my PA loves this. She has always been able to calendarise, diarise and prioritise with glee. She can also de-clutter, de-mystify and design systems and structures which offer ways of managing time, workload and people effectively. But this is pretty new for me.
Of course, I understand that too much systematising can destroy innovation and creativity as well as sucking the life out of people and organisations but I also now firmly believe that people deserve clarity and that far too much time, energy and money is wasted because of inefficiency.
Take the classic unhelpful email. Sent to several people at different levels of the organisation with no clear title, no clear designation of tasks and no timeframe. A positive messfest is created as someone replies and copies someone else in, others chip in but their responses overlap, someone sends a private response, someone copies someone else in, and soon the original idea has grown legs, arms, wings and a fuzziness which leads to stagnation, confusion and obfuscation.
So I have taken to thinking hard before sending any email and formulating a set of protocols for myself and my team. Who needs the information in the email? Who needs to see it but not act? Is it clear who is expected to do what? Is it clear when the deadline for a response is?
It sounds simple but you would perhaps be amazed how many emails fail most of these tests.
And this is not just about emails.
So often codification is both underrated and underused. It may feel like it stifles but it actually helps clarify, save time, save energy and save confusion. Clear templates, clear models, clear agendas all bring many benefits.
In terms of promoting work-life balance, positive mental health and good time management, seeking efficiency is a must.