Efficiency – is it a curse or a blessing?

Jenn DonovanCulture, Featured, Fun Stuff, Operations, Uncategorized4 Comments


It’s often a running joke at Red Barn that I get shit done – and fast. I really can’t help but be efficient. I’m not quite sure if it was something I learned as a child or something I was just born doing, but as far back as I can remember, I’ve always been motivated to just get things done. Lately, it’s made me wonder if there is such a thing as being too fast, too efficient…

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I can remember being back in the 6th grade and every morning we’d have an assignment that we’d have to start working on while everyone got settled, attendance was taken, volunteers would collect homework or items for the office, etc. I would rush to put my coat and backpack away, get out the book I need for the assignment, and work as fast as possible to get the assignment done, correctly of course, so that I wouldn’t have to work on it later or as homework. Having watched this pattern for weeks, my teacher actually said something to me about being too concerned with getting my work done. (Shocking, right! Well, I did go to Catholic school, so things were much smaller and a lot different than public school) So, the next day I volunteered to collect everyone’s homework instead of getting a jump on the morning assignment. Do you want to know what I learned – Nothing!

Other than my teacher, no one cared that I was the one collecting assignments instead of doing my work. No one cared when I got the assignment done as long as it was done by the due date. And the funny thing was, no one else took advantage of the extra time they had when they didn’t volunteer. Ok, I lied, I did learn something, but I didn’t realize it until many, many years later. I’m just wired different than most people. And for the most part, it’s OK!

I have come to terms with the fact that I just work at a faster pace than more people. I just can’t procrastinate – it’s not in my DNA. If I have a to-do list, I can’t relax until I’ve check off all the tasks. I love that sense of satisfaction that my work is done. If I can get it done today – I will. It’s just how I operate. BUT, I can’t help but wonder if my efficiency, and let’s be honest, lack of patience is getting on other people’s nerves or creating frustration for myself?

I sometimes find myself getting frustrated when it takes people more than 5 minutes to respond to an email or that it takes them 2 hours to complete a task that I know should only take an hour. I know, I know – who would want to work with me?!

It’s something I’m working on – being mindful of my time, other people’s time, and working on letting go some. I’ve started saying NO to things that I don’t want to do, more in my personal life vs. work. But at the end of the day, I can’t help but be me. In my defense, I do warn people that I’m crazy! But I also think my dedication to my to-do list, checking email, and be overall responsive is what makes me so good at my job.

So, the morale of my story is this – be who you are! My efficiency has made me who I am today, and you don’t get to be the Ops Beast by sitting on your haunches – pun intended! My apologies to anyone that I’ve annoyed or had to poke to move faster. It was nothing personal!

4 Comments on “Efficiency – is it a curse or a blessing?”

  1. I’m with you on this one, Jenn….it’s a blessing!

    Here’s one of my affirmations I reflect on every morning: “I create success by working smarter, not harder.”

    My goal is to make my business easier by putting systems in place that eliminate duplication, inefficiency and waste of time.

  2. I like this description. I’m the opposite, and always have been since I was in 6th grade: I plod along in a reflective manner; absorb; reflect; and analyze every nuance. I drive people crazy, but in the end, I just so get it. Whatever it is. I never procrastinate, and I never rush. I always stay with it, but I always proceed incrementally.

  3. I can so relate. I get a lot done, quickly, correctly and move on. I manage time well and try not to touch paperwork more than I have to – let’s deal with it in every way possible the first time. In my part job that has meant I have more clients than any of the full timers, I get all the extra projects and new clients. I get admiration from the higher ups and resentment from those who if it weren’t for rework wouldn’t have a job. I’m OK with all of that. But, I know it can be a little (ok a lot) annoying because I operate that way all the time even at home. My daughter gets everything done and doesn’t procrastinate but it takes her hours to do a 10 minute job. I have learned to walk away and let go. She’s getting it done even if not at the speed of light.

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