Daily Proverbial, 3 August 2011

Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that, build your house. Proverbs 24, verse 27.

Make hay while the sun is shining. There’s a platitude that could go hand in hand with this verse, don’t you think? After all, they’re saying much the same thing. Work while you can…work hard in the sun while the sun is shining. Do the smaller tasks first – or the first things first – and then move on to the bigger ones; do your prep work first, then move on to the tougher stuff.

In other words, don’t waste time. We devote so much of life to planning, and because our God is a god of order, that’s not all a bad thing. I finally finished the PMP certification; passed the test 2 weeks ago. The entire project management process is all about planning, all about putting things in order and getting them done in the most effective and efficient manner possible (knowing that processes are efficient while people are effective). One central, implied tenet of project management is ‘don’t waste time.’ As much as possible, put things into a logical, sequential order in order to maximize resources and minimize mistakes.

In other words, do what God would do. Do you think it’s any coincidence that the things of the world were made in the order in which they were made? I don’t. It takes time and forethought to do things right, especially when you’re doing things that become more and more complex. In the tale of creation, he was giving us a model for the basics of project management. Plan things out. Be methodical. Do first things first. It’s how He created the universe and it’s how He intends for us to do our work here. The verse is another model of that concept. Do your laborious outside work first because it takes time to grow and bear fruit.

It takes time because the things worth having, the things worth doing, take time to do them right. If you make a rash decision, things generally don’t work out well. If you rush into buying a house before getting all your ducks in a row, you might just end up with a pile of junk on your hands. If you invest unwisely, you stand to lose big. And if you don’t act out of love in a relationship, then you risk losing the heart of someone very special for the rest of your life. Life takes work. Love takes work. It took work to make the universe, but it was a labor of love, for love’s sake. What’s worth having in life is worth doing right.

In other words, finish the outdoor work first, then go build your house.

According to Project Management Institute, the phases of a project are initiation, planning, executing, monitoring (and controlling), and closing. If you skip one phase, you put the others in jeopardy. Sometimes they overlap, and sometimes the end of one occurs well after the start of another has passed. Every project from building a Mars lander to building a new house can follow the basic precepts of project management; these same steps occur no matter what, even when we don’t formally recognize them. It’s logical, it makes sense, and it’s a fancy, detailed way of saying “make hay while the sun is shining.” It’s hard to resist the urge to rush ahead, but in the long run it’s worthwhile to do things right.

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