I write about productivity and efficiency quite a lot on here, with hundreds of posts that go back well over a decade. I believe that being efficient in your work can pay huge dividends. A fun example is when Google released the “Send & Archive” button in Gmail back in 2009, and I estimated that it saved me roughly 24 hours per year in time savings. Little things can add up.
However, it can also come at a cost if you try to optimize things simply for the sake of optimizing them, which I’ve been guilty of doing many times. As Peter Drucker has said:
There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all.
While being efficient at a given task is important, two other possible ideas should come first:
- Delegate the task to someone else.
- Don’t do the task at all.
There are many things that you need to do every day, and learning to knock out those tasks efficiently is a wonderful thing. Even better, though, is deciding that a task isn’t worth doing and turning your attention to more important work.