Vicious Efficiency

19 12 2012

I was recently described as “viciously efficient”.  I must admit that I quite liked the term, but I couldn’t help analysing its meaning.

A dictionary search for the term “vicious” was slightly disappointing:

1. addicted to or characterized by vice; grossly immoral; depraved; profligate
2. given or readily disposed to evil
3. reprehensible; blameworthy; wrong
4. spiteful; malicious
5. unpleasantly severe
While I can sometimes relate to the monster Grendel, is this really how others see me?

While I can sometimes relate to the monster Grendel, do others really see me as some sort of depraved monster?

I don’t believe this is quite what my friend intended.  Well, at least I hope not.

“Efficiency” was a much easier, and much more pleasant, definition:

accomplishment of or ability to accomplish a job with a minimum expenditure of time and effort

Now, I’m much more comfortable with that.  I do strive to be efficient, particularly in my work.  I am often reminded, however, that efficiency should not be our only goal.  There’s an old saying – “Haste makes waste” – that is appropriate here.  You can be extremely efficient, but if you don’t also take care in what you do, mistakes happen, and fixing those mistakes can take up a lot of the time gained from your efficiency.

I found an excellent graph today that demonstrates my point.  The following is my own version.

Vicious Efficiency

The people around me might see me as terribly (viciously) efficient, but I am a perfectionist at heart and I must admit it’s not always easy to stay in the middle ground between time-consuming perfectionism and shoddy hyper-efficiency.  I think (and hope) that I am getting better with age and experience.

…and to reinforce the lesson…Goodness!  Look at the time (1:09am).  I think I’ve procrastinated over this blog post long enough.  If I wait until it’s perfect, I’ll never get to bed.




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