Efficiency has a Deadening Effect

I was laughing with my wife about a standing joke we share. Often when we go for a drive, we end up having an ‘adventure.’

It usually involves getting lost because of construction, spontaneously wanting to try a shortcut or a longcut, or out of spite, we ignore the charm of the British navigating voice.

“I promised you a life of adventure, not boredom,” which is followed by a good laugh and a response, “Off we go, again!”

Efficiency has a place in my life but so does deliberate inefficiency.

A few years ago, I was at the Winnipeg Music Festival. I read the program and plotted the stages to see my favourite artists except for one thing. It was too hot.

There was one stage nestled deep amongst some trees. I put my chair down and stayed the day in the shade. I saw and heard a string of performers. Some I was familiar with – comfortable artists. Others were musicians I hadn’t seen before and often didn’t know. There was not a bad show all day long. It certainly wasn’t an efficient way to see acts I had been looking forward to seeing.

When I was in my late teens, I walked into a book store. In those days, the retail clerks loved books, too. I would ask any clerk to tell me their favourite book. They would quiz me about what I liked, a genre, or an author. I declined, truly wanting their favourite book. I committed myself to read it cover to cover. I discovered enjoyment with science fiction and gothic novels that stayed with me for years.

If I was trying to be efficient, I could have just picked up the latest book by my favourite author, and I knew I’d have a good read.

I have been making my own low-carb bread in a bread maker. I thought I would try kneading the bread myself. It was slower, and obviously, I couldn’t do anything else during this time. But I really enjoyed the feel, getting the dough between my fingers and feeling the consistency to know when I was done vs. just setting a timer. I could do other things while it kneaded.

Please give this a bit of a think. Identify a situation in which the goal is to be inefficient. Don’t overthink it. What would you gain from being inefficient? Did it bring you more ‘joy’ than being efficient?

Before coming home from a familiar destination, try planning a longer or slower route. Enjoy the architecture, neighbourhood gems of retail services, playgrounds and more.

I’m curious about your thoughts. Please leave your bit-of-a-think below.

Photo by Reuben Teo on Unsplash

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