This article was first published on the 6th of November, 2015 and last updated on the 27th of April, 2016 by Patrick Carpen.
Work less, accomplish more? Who has ever heard of such talk? I have, because I have said it myself! But when I told it to my friend Sheikh Abrahim, he stared at me with a look of confusion and disbelief.
After all, it sounds like a beautifully worded paradox, doesn’t it?
Many people are of the opinion that the more you work, the more you accomplish. At least, that seems to be the general conviction. People think that if they really push themselves, multitask, and scamper about, they will lead more productive and prosperous lives, as well as accomplish their dreams faster.
Indeed, this seems to be a “natural law”, and like all natural laws, it does have a breaking point.
Let’s look at the following illustration. John was really busy as usual one Monday morning. He was trying to pack as much punch into his workday as possible. But in the rush, he failed to take the necessary precaution of updating his antivirus. In the rush, he plugged in an infected flash drive to load some music. The virus loaded onto his computer and spread rapidly. Within minutes, his computer started to lock up. He couldn’t get it to start again.
John had to spend extra time taking his computer to the computer shop. He was faced with “downtime” for lacking of his computing machine, and lost many hours of work time. This backed up a lot of other work and if John really counted his loses, it would have amounted to more than a full week! Whew! On top of that, John had to shell out big cash to have his computer restored, including having all his software reinstalled and his data recovered.
In the rush, John had also forgotten to back up his data. But no! John was so busy trying to accomplish way more than everyone.
What if John had addressed only a few tasks everyday? What if he had taken things in “stride”, bearing in mind that “with patience, we resolve all problems”? John would probably have avoided this disaster and certainly have accomplished more. This is just one example of how we accomplish more by working less.
The bible does call us to be diligent workers. It says “the hand of the diligent shall prosper”. But how many of us take this too far? How many of us become fanatics?
If you’re a business owner, always immersed in getting things done, take some time to smell the roses. New ideas bloom in fresh air. And those could be bigger, better, money making ideas!
Remember God’s warning too, when He says “do not labor to become rich, cease for your own understanding! For riches make themselves wings and fly away towards heaven!”
David also writes in the book of Psalms, “It is useless to rise up early…to stay up late…and to eat the bread of sorrows…for God gives sleep to those He loves”.
While we must work hard, we mustn’t overdo it. We must take time off to thank God, praise him and look at our work and admire it.
I’ve found that in times when I was most desperate to get things done, when I really pushed myself beyond the limit, I hadn’t really accomplished all that. And at other times, when I took tasks one step at a time, taking time off for other important things, I had gotten a great deal of success.
The bible advises, “be careful, because you may look back and say ‘why did I labor and deprive my soul of good’ ”
While labor is good, we mustn’t let it “deprive our soul of good’, because, as the bible says, ‘we don’t know what kind of person will come after us to inherit the fruits of our labor”.
While God calls us to be hard workers, He also advises us to “eat drink and enjoy the days of our lives”. And more importantly, “trust in Him with all our strength.”
Often, when people work too hard, they get carried away. They place too much emphasis on their own abilities and understanding, that they forget the source of all goodness and mercies: God.
Some time back, I was reading an article about “death by overwork”, and stories of plane crashes that resulted from pilots being overworked.
Not too long ago, it was airing on the news channel that some advanced countries are pushing for lesser working hours, because it makes workers “more productive”.
Indeed, when people are physically and mentally exhausted, they become sluggish and mistake-prone. But if we treat ourselves with the required amount of both physical and mental rest, we will become more alert, fast, active and productive.
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