Everywhere I look in business and at home, I see articles and tips on being effective or efficient. Seven steps to a more effective life. Five steps to highly efficient teams. Three ways to get it all done in less time by being more efficient. There is something to be said for efficiency, as long as we are still effective.
When my son first went to college, he wanted to manage his time well. In his effort to be efficient, he would cram everything possible into one load of laundry. His efficiency saved time, but it wasn’t effective. The clothes didn’t get as clean, and they came out wrinkled.
I am naturally a planner and very organized. The spices are alphabetized in the pantry, the towels need to be folded a certain way, and I am the queen of list making. To get things done, I have a schedule. Sometimes my day is planned by the half hour. When running errands, I list everything in order of stops so I’m not running back and forth across town. I like to think I am efficient and effective.
The morning starts with time for God, but should God really be put into a time slot? Yes, I believe starting the day with prayer and time in the Word make a big difference in my day, but relationships can’t be planned. Sometimes I need to slow down and let go of the plan. Approaching my prayer time with a list of what to pray is okay, as long as I am also open to God’s leading to pray for something that is not on my list. I also need to be open to spending a little longer reading a certain passage of scripture that God is speaking through. This might mean a longer prayer time and some rearranging of my schedule. It can be hard for a control freak like me, but I have learned that God’s plan for my day will always be better than my plan.
I need to slow down, be still, and let God lead. I want my prayers and my life to be effective. Sometimes that means letting go of my efficiency.