“Efficiency is often the enemy of love.” ~Dr. Kelly Kapic

by | Jun 22, 2022 | Entrepreneurship, Productivity, Systems

I think the world works best when we’re all honest about the limitations of our own ‘thing.’

My ‘thing’ is systems. I love productivity and time management and, of course, efficiency.

I also agree wholeheartedly with Kelly Kapic’s quote above.

Dr. Kapic was one of my favorite college professors, partially because he would hit us with zingers like this.

He explained it more by saying:

“There is nothing more inefficient than love….when we live by making outputs the primary way we judge our lives, then it makes the slowness of process and relationships incredibly difficult…Love and life are found in the inefficiencies of presence and mutual delight.”

Here is my honest truth. As an American with a type-A personality, a systems-oriented mind, and a ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ workaholic heritage, I find rest difficult. I often think in terms of output. When I feel out of control, I feel a compulsion to organize so I can feel back in control again.

When I sit down to write, or teach, or consult, I take seriously my own responsibility to consider this fact. I want my work to impact other people with the best I have to offer, not the worst.

So how do I keep teaching about efficiency while also believing that inefficient love should undergird everything I do? How do I pass on my best strategies without deepening a harmful narrative that we are only as valuable as we are productive?

I can do it because I believe that systems are a tool that can actually help us cultivate love and presence.

I use systems to curtail my own workaholism and feel good about wrapping up work on time. I use systems to get the unavoidable things done so I have actual space to cultivate rest and presence. Efficiency has made it possible for me to cut my work hours in half without our revenue dropping.

Love IS inefficient. I don’t want to build systems that help us all cram more into our lives. I want to build systems that allow us to channel our time towards what matters most. I want us to know how to protect the time we need to get coffee with friends, to cry with someone who is grieving, and to get on the floor and play with our kids.

Efficiency isn’t the goal – it’s just a means to an end. If we can be more efficient in some areas, and resist the urge to fill our time with more stuff to do, then we might just find ourselves with the space to be gloriously inefficient with the people we love, the hobbies that light us up, and rest that actually restores us.

Here’s to that,


Hear more from Dr. Kapic here:

  • Longer talk
  • Shorter clip
  • So you know what to expect – Kelly approaches this topic through the lens of a Christian theological tradition