Last year at raise time, my office manager brought everyone into a large room and told the entire law firm that our raises weren’t going to be very large at that time because we’d had to comply with the same governmental regulations that the banks were forced to comply with. This meant even more bullet-proof glass, fancy new doors and key fobs, and a new vault had to be installed among other things in order to comply and keep our customers. On the downside he told us that our raises wouldn’t be as great as we might have expected them to be despite all of our hard work. Then he mentioned that our workload was down too (bottom line the owner wasn’t making as much money and spending more money than he wanted to) so we could expect to see that reflected in our raises as well.
But then the real kick in the teeth came…
He told us that we should be more efficient and that somehow we should try and figure out a way to squeeze a little more juice out of each lemon.
My thoughts as applicable to this situation were, “screw you.” No one really wants to be told that their raise for the year was being slashed because the company wasn’t making enough money and then be told to figure out how to work a little harder and be more efficient for less. That’s just bad presentation skills in my opinion. It’s not very motivating at all when put that way.
However, my manager did have a good point.
There are ways to be more efficient and get what you want done in less time. Maybe the workplace is one of them and maybe it’s not.
I do like to apply this principle to my training for marathons and triathlons. I really feel that more isn’t always better. When I’m tired I do not perform as well and my workouts aren’t as effective. I have a much better training session when I’m fresh and my body isn’t beaten up from doing multiple training sessions. In other words, I take a rest day or even two if I’m really sore from a tough workout. I adjust my workout schedule and don’t beat myself up if I don’t make everything I planned to do that week. I’ve found by spending a little bit less time training when I’m tired actually increases the quality of the workouts I do have because I have more energy when I do workout. I feel replenished before the workout and don’t dread it. I feel successful during the workout because it went well. I feel accomplished after the workout because I’ve made progress towards my racing goal. It’s a win-win situation. Efficiency can come in the form of quality instead of quantity.
Another place I like to apply this principle to is my work/social/home calendar. I like to be balanced. Balance is efficiency to me. If I’ve gotten good rest, worked an 8 hour day, done my workout and have spent some time with my new husband and my dogs then it’s been a good day. I’m more efficient because I’m coming from a happier and better balanced place. When I put in long hours at the office I get very stressed out. If I workout too long outside then I may be sore or tired afterwards and all I will want to do is rest. Or if I stay home on the couch all day and watch tv or am around Pete and the dogs too much, I go crazy. I need a balanced life. When I lead a balanced life I’m more efficient because I’m happy!
The last place I’ll let you explore with me is applying this principle to nutrition. I’m a vegan as most of you know. I do not believe in eating meat or any kind of animal byproducts. I believe that meat and dairy weren’t meant to be processed by the human body. My digestion is better and as a result I feel better. Digestion also affects my training. Last year while training for Chicago I never felt good after a run. I felt like last night’s dinner was still rumbling around inside me on my 16 mile long run. Now…if it goes in one end then it definintely comes out the other a LOT sooner. That’s a great thing. For me, by choosing not to eat meat and dairy my body is more efficient and happy and I am happier and more efficient as a result.
Squeezing a little more juice out of a lemon, or working in a more efficient manner, gets you more of what you want in less time and you’ll be happier over all. Now who would argue with that?