Word Of the Week #607: Efficiency

March 23, 2016 by  

Efficiency – skillfulness in avoiding wasted time and effort.

How skilled are you at avoiding wasting time? When you have errands to run to do you plan your route based on traffic patterns? Do you have good time management skills at work?

I LOVE this word! And I DETEST wasting time or having to do things over. The old saying goes, “Do it right the first time, or don’t do it at all.” Efficiency at its finest!

We just got home from our “Slow Boat to Singapore” trip and I was so impressed with Singapore and how efficient the “world’s only island city-state” is. The master plan was for citizens to have a high quality of life and efficiency plays a large part in making that happen. How can an area of only 247 square miles with a population of 5.5 million people not have traffic jams? New York City has 8.8 million people living in 305 square miles. Can you imagine NYC with no traffic jams?

For starters they wanted to limit the number of cars on the road. So in order to even attempt to get a car you have to apply for a Certificate of Entitlement (COE). Wanna guess how much that costs? More than S$80,000 ($60,000 US) to successful bidders! And the permit is only good for a period of 10 years after which the vehicle must be scrapped. No old cars breaking down here. Oh I almost forgot – the tax on that new car? A whopping 100%!

The good news for those lucky car owners is only 12% of the Singaporeans have one. That keeps traffic down. But just in case they might have a traffic problem, say at rush hour, they have Electronic Road Pricing (ERP). Electronic gantries are placed over the road at designated locations. Cars are equipped with an In-Vehicle Unit (IU), which deducts the toll price from a CashCard. The more cars, the higher the toll. That keeps traffic down too. There is no charge during certain non-peak times. Efficiency at its finest!

1 efficiency

The majority of people live in condos, don’t have the luxury of a home with a yard, and can’t afford a car. The upside is that they are part of an ‘estate’, which has a neighborhood center comprising of shopping malls, food courts and restaurants, a library, supermarkets, clinics and sports/recreational facilities. You go to work, you come home, and you don’t waste precious time that takes away from your quality of life. Efficiency at its finest!

Without a doubt Changi Airport is the best airport in the world. We walked in and were greeted and ushered to the ticket counter with no line, then we proceeded through customs with no line, and directly entered the terminal shopping area. All signs had the amount of time it would take to get to your gate. Not distance. Same thing at the restrooms. The sign with an arrow directing you to the next restroom read 2 minutes. Our bags were scanned at our gate. No line there either!

Then we landed in San Diego and I was utterly amazed and thrilled to find we now have Automated Passport Control (APC). Instead of long lines zig-zagging to go through customs they have installed self-service customs kiosks. In less than three minutes it had scanned my passport, took my picture, and spit out a single copy of it all. Then we continued to the customs counter with no line, got our passports stamped and headed to baggage claim. The total time from deplaning to curbside was less than 30 minutes! Efficiency at its finest! And I am so glad to be home. America is by far the BEST place on earth!

This week’s focus is to all about efficiency. Would you like to have a higher quality of life? What would that look like to you? How much more efficient could you be at home and work?

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