Relational Smarts: The Balance Between Efficiency and Effectiveness

Balancing Male Female

Who is not trying to squeeze one more To Do or appointment into each day?  This is the age of movers and shakers; work-while-at-home; listen to a podcast while responding to emails — you get the picture.  There are so many wonderful systems to get organized and become more efficient at processing your In-Box and Project tasks. Yet, I implore you not to overlook the Relational effectiveness variable.

Should you focus too much on time efficiency: you may quickly find that you are stealing from relational effectiveness.

Think of this as an example:

A newly married couple, both had former marriages and children from a previous marriage.

Money is tight.

Work load is heavy.

Determined to make this marriage last they decide to spend Sundays together and resist the temptation to work.

Time/money perspective:

‘Well, I don’t know why they both have to go together.  If he stayed home, instead of making the 6 hour round trip to pick up Sarah (grandchild), then he could get more work hours.  They would have more money and be less stressed because now he will have to make it up (the work) during the week and I know they can use the money.’

Relational perspective:

The couple works tirelessly six days a week.  They are exhausted most of the time.  they have little time together to talk and laugh together.  Money is tight.  It is tempting for her to say, ‘Honey, I can go by myself and pickup Sarah. You stay here and finish the work you started.  We always have next Sunday together.’

He says, “No, I am going with you, you are tired and we can share the driving so that neither of us gets too sleepy on the road. We will spend the drive time catching up from these busy weeks that have rushed past us.  And I think we should stop at that Cider Mill you love so much to break up the drive and have a little fun. Plus Sarah loves their doughnuts.”

Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest. Exodus 34:21 NIV

There is still so much wisdom in the ancient text and it goes beyond our physical care and needs, this rest extends to our relational health.  We need to make appropriate quality time for important relationships a non-negotiable.  This will help us keep the delicate Relational Balance of Effectiveness and Efficiency.   On the other hand, too much together time can lead to trouble too:  if it steals time from work or other commitments; causes strife, generates boredom, or leads to relational laziness.  There is no magical formula or prescription for the exact amount to time. Take into consideration your personalities, life’s demands, total time available and set your priorities accordingly so that your special someone knows he or she is on the top of the list.


 Intelligence does not translate to relational smarts – do not become complacent – work to develop your relational intelligence.  XXOO



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