What does it mean to be effective or efficient? In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey defines it as, “getting superb results today (production) in a way that allows us to get those results over and over again (production capability).” Covey calls it the P/PC balancing act. If we focus only on production we run the risk of weakening our ability to produce. Aesop illustrates this balance well in his fable, The Goose and The Golden Egg.
Aesop tells of a countryman who had a remarkable goose. Each day, this goose laid a beautiful golden egg. The man took the eggs to market and began to grow rich.
He also grew impatient. One day the countryman decided he didn’t need to wait for the goose to give him a single golden egg each day. Instead, he would kill the goose and remove all the eggs at once. But when he did, the man found no eggs inside the goose, and his precious goose was dead.
Sometimes each of us acts like that countryman. We get so focused on our lives and our productivity that we forget to do vital maintenance. We’ve likely all heard stories of people who were so busy driving from event to event day after day that they lost track of the miles they had driven—failed to change the oil in their car—and burned out an engine far too soon.
Have you ever felt burned out?
So how do we balance our productivity with our ability to produce? How do we remain productive without burning out? How do we get the most out of our employees without making them feel worn down? How do we maintain positive, symbiotic relationships where we give and take without feeling taken advantage of, or taking advantage of others?
Effective living requires effective planning. As we plan to tackle and enjoy the upcoming projects and events in our lives (our eggs), we can determine what we should do to preserve and enhance our ability to produce quality results (our goose). This balancing act applies to every aspect of life.
Your Franklin Planner is perfectly equipped to help you manage the different roles you play each day. As you write your goals, ideas, and plans on paper, you can create a big-picture view. You can draw on past experiences and project your goals far into the future—all while focusing on the minutiae of today.
That big picture view makes it easier to direct your small daily activities toward your end goals. With the proper focus, your daily actions will feel far less mundane, because you’ll see them as your mode of travel from where you are now to where you hope to be. Along the way, you’ll find ways to improve your talents, rest your body, and strengthen others—so your ability to produce remains high.
This explains why flight attendants tell parents, in the event of an emergency, to put their oxygen masks on before they place oxygen on their children. As parents, we need to be strong in order to help our children. We are their goose. If a child protests or fights the oxygen, which is highly probable, the parent could run out of air trying to explain and encourage.
Have you ever considered that proper planning could be as vital for our success as oxygen is for life?
The most powerful planning is about far more than tasks and appointments. It’s about you—who you are and who you hope to become. It’s about living true to the things you value most, whether that’s growing your skills, sharpening your talents, supporting your family, or increasing your wealth.
So the true secret is to know and understand what matters most to you—to determine the values that govern your actions. Your governing values add meaning and motivation to the things you do. They make you want to maximize the efficiency of your eggs while strengthening your goose. If you are struggling to create your list of governing values, consider what and for whom you would be willing to risk everything, and why you would. The answers to that question are rooted in your values. That’s a great start.
You play a lot of roles each day—child, sibling, spouse, parent, employee, employer, neighbor, friend, artist, athlete—your list is long. You have goals and expectations related to each of the roles that matter to you. When you use your planner for self-development in each of the roles you play, you’ll find that you need to weigh your actions against your governing values. There is simply not enough time in the day to do everything.
But as you focus your efforts on those things that matter most—as you prioritize your daily tasks, you’ll begin to achieve this P/PC balance. You’ll make time to strengthen your skills, improve your knowledge, and lift and serve those who matter to you. You’ll be able to recognize the geese in your life, and acknowledge the times when you are a goose for others. Supporting those who support you and those who need your support will become paramount. And in doing so, you’ll find yourself progressing toward your goals, rather than simply focusing on everyday tasks and appointments. You’ll find life, meaning, and satisfaction in all you choose to do.