By Tom Murphy
From the ‘if you take shortcuts it shows’ series.
We’ve all been there. A choice between the long way and the short way, a little voice pipes up warning you to “avoid the easy way”. And, invariably, that’s exactly what you do. A brief mental tussle, then it’s head down and along the harder path you go!
Throughout our lives teachers, parents and peers all tell us, in no uncertain terms, shortcuts fail. It seems ingrained in us to opt for the harder path: hard toil equals success..
But you know what? Sometimes it’s okay to take shortcuts.
Think about the literal shortcuts we sometimes take when we’re trying to find our way somewhere. I’ve lost count of the number of times a journey has quadrupled after that infamous one liner, “I reckon, if we turn left here…”. It’s guesswork; sometimes it works out and sometimes, well, it doesn’t.
Maybe though, if you know the area well, that shortcut could halve the journey time. And is that a bad thing? Saving you time, fuel, money…arguments!
I’ve recently returned from a trip to the UK. If I’d have followed the advice of my youth and not taken a shortcut, that 24 hours on a plane would seem pretty insignificant next to the weeks of driving it would have otherwise taken.
Moving a little closer to home now (try not to get lost on the way), think about the shortcuts we take around the house. Those time-saving appliances that make short work of domestic chores. Dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, and washing machines: we use them because we know they work. The net result is we save time so we can focus on what’s important.
The same should apply to our working lives.
Next time you’re faced with the choice of the short way or the long way, bear in mind these two principles:
- don’t make it harder than it needs to be;
- only take a shortcut when it doesn’t shortchange the final result.
Consider all your options and, as long as you think it through and have confidence, why not do it the “easy way”?