Efficiency is defined as doing more in less time, and it is one of the most popular notions of our modern society. It is also a key aspect of New Order thinking, but carried to the typical extremes we have come to know and expect from the New Order.
The Mutation of Time Management
Many years of teaching time management seminars have taught me that most people have no clue what time management really is. Many of my students thought that time management was simply getting more done or not being "late". Still others believed that time management involved simply doing things faster. These and other notions of time management all oversimplify and actual distort what time management really is and should be.
Time management is simply prioritizing one's time to maximize using one's limited time for the most important things in one's life. Time management is not simply about doing more or doing faster. It is about doing what is important well and sprinkling in less important things as time allows. It is about determining what one's life is about and setting about making one's life reflect one's life purpose. It is about maximizing the limited treasure of time that we have on this earth.
No matter who we are or how rich or powerful we may be, we all have 168 hours a week to work with. No seminar or class or book can increase those hours. What effective time management can do, however, is maximize what we do with those 168 hours.
The New Order has distorted and twisted the concept of time management to reflect New Order philosophies and beliefs about who we are and what we are about. Since this society already values quantity over quality, time management is supposed to help us accomplish more. Since this society already likes speed, time management is supposed to help us do faster. Since this society already likes variety and change, time management is supposed to help us do things differently. We are told that time management will help us earn more, do more, and be happier as a result. We are reminded that the old way of doing things was slower and therefore less valuable and that new ways of doing things are faster and therefore better.
The end result of all of this tinkering with the basic truth about time management is that we have lost the true definition of time management, which is finding happiness by doing what is most important in our lives and avoiding or minimizing what should be less important. Over the years, our concept of time management has been mutated into a distortion, which fits New Order thinking more than how God Almighty wants us to see time management.
Wearing the Wrong Watch
The problem with New Order thinking is that it slaps us with the wrong watch to keep time. Instead of seeing things by their long-term value and ultimate purpose we tend to see the number of things and their immediate value and purpose. God's time is not the time kept on this earth. The Almighty does not use the standards of efficiency employed in our factories, companies, and think tanks. More is not better if it is wrong. Less is not worse if it is right. Saints like St. Bernadette and St. Rose of Lima accomplished spiritual brilliance and eternal perfection in a few decades on this earth. The Blessed Mother has appeared to many children and the poor who did not wear watches!
Many 80-year olds have spent their time on this earth in selfish arrogance without a thought of charity or service. Perhaps those old people have earned great fortunes or gained wide acclaim, but how much of their time have they spent developing their eternal salvation? The New Order, as it always does, pushes us to think about quantity, about now, about this earth, about what people think of us, without a thought about our souls, our ultimate purpose and mission on this earth, our salvation. Before we discover what true time management and efficiency is, we must remove the watch of this earth and put on God's timepiece!
Salvation Standard Time
So great is our arrogance regarding time and efficiency that we even decided to move our clocks forward and backward to fit our own devices and notions of seasons and daylight. Well, God Almighty has only one time zone, and that is Salvation Standard Time. Everything which brings us closer to God and which gives Him the glory, honor, thanksgiving, praise, and respect to which He is eternally deserving can be found in Salvation Standard Time. When we stop to drop a coin on a beggar's cup, when we visit the sick or elderly, when we volunteer at a soup kitchen, when we help someone in need without any ulterior motives or when we visit The Blessed Sacrament, when we pray, we are in Salvation Standard Time.
When we really talk to our family instead of grunting toward them while watching television, when we take time to say a kind word or give up our seat to someone, we are in Salvation Standard Time. There is no need to push or run in Salvation Standard Time, for being first means nothing. Jesus guaranteed this in Matthew 19: 30, and reiterated in chapter 20: 16, "the last shall be first, and the first last."
What does matter is what is in our hearts, our minds, and our souls. What does matter is why we are doing something more than how fast or how much we are doing something. Our time on this earth is limited to 168 hours a week for who knows how many weeks to go, but Salvation Standard Time begins here and never ends. What value is gaining a year on this earth if we lose eternity in paradise?
Yes, the New Order does not care about Salvation Standard Time. It seeks faster prayers, quicker Masses, more efficient Eucharist lines. Like the Pharisees of Christ's time, the New Order cares more about quantity and popularity. Christ's Passion was not about 14 Stations or 3 hours. It is about salvation, redemption, love, sacrifice, pain, suffering, and forgiveness. These are all things the New Order is trying to forget about and trying to influence us to forget about.
So we have a choice as to which time we will keep and what standards of efficiency we will follow. We can play with the hands of the New Order's clock or we can hold Christ's Hands as He leads us to salvation. The choice is ours. The time is ours, whatever is left of it. We can see efficiency as doing more in less time, or we can see true efficiency as doing good in salvation time.