Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Are You Working Hard or Smart?

She worked very hard, she stayed late every evening, she hardly ever took lunch breaks; she always seemed overwhelmed and overworked. She was working so hard that she generated a good deal of sympathy. “Poor Susie, I feel so bad for her. She has so much to do and never gets out of here on time.” Those were typical comments her coworkers made about her.

I was one of those coworkers, often feeling guilty myself for not working as hard or as long as Susie did. However, after getting to know the situation better, I began to see that Susie did indeed work long hours and expended a great deal of energy, but many of us were accomplishing the same amount of work in much less time because Susie did not use any discipline in planning her work, scheduling her time, or controlling her energy.

Sometimes I even got the idea that she was trying to solicit those expressions of sympathy. It made Susie feel good about herself to be able to say how late she worked last night, to remind us that she didn’t have time to go to lunch today, to be there at the office every morning before the rest of us. I concluded that Susie was doing this in part to convince herself that she was important and valuable.

Many times in my career I’ve worked with people who worked hard but not smart. People who really thrive on their jobs are ones who know how to use that eight- or nine-hour day really well, completing assignments and keeping up with the work in a fairly normal schedule, leaving time for the rest of their lives and achieving a balance in lifestyle.
Have you heard the slogan “Plan your work and work your plan”? I remember having that drilled into me early in my career, and there’s an awful lot of good advice wrapped up in those few words.

Time is our most valuable resource – the one we can never replace once we use it. God will hold us accountable for our use of time. We’ve each been given twenty-four hours each day, but some use those hours more wisely than others.

Time management is a topic that has been covered in depth by many other people, yet few of us really manage our time well. Certainly we cannot say it is from lack of information or help, because most any bookstore or library is a resource for good help in how to plan your work and work your plan. Mostly it’s a matter of just making up your mind to do it. 

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