Effective vs. Efficient

Posted by Stacey Brown Randall

Want to be more productive? Focus on being effective, not efficient.

Seems counterintuitive?

It’s not.

If your goal is to knock out your to do list as efficiently (i.e. fast) as possible but you fail to work on your business priorities you aren’t being effective. And being effective is the only thing that matters. I work with clients who get so lost or in the trenches of their tasks that they look up at the end of the week, month or quarter and – while they got “stuff” done – they still haven’t made any real progress. Why…because they are being efficient, not effective.

You can hide in being efficient.

Being efficient can “feel” good.

There is a lot you could do, but should you?

So how do you become more effective? Here are 3 ways to be effective every day. But first, let me define being effective and efficient.

Effective – doing the right thing, at the right time because it matters to your business growth, progress or success. Purpose and value are the objectives.

Efficient – doing things quickly or fast. Speed is the objective.

3 Ways to be Effective Every Day:

1. Map your “tasks” to your business goals. Don’t have goals? Then stop reading and figure that out first. There should be a point to each task, each block of time, each item that gets your attention and focus. You don’t have time for time fillers. When you know why doing a task matters and how the outcome from that task fits within the bigger picture you are being effective.

2. Start your day with your top “3” priorities. Your mantra: Come hell or high water I will accomplish these 3 things today (maybe it is one or two for you, never more than five). Will you get other things done – yes – after you accomplish your top 3 priorities which are mapped back to your business goals. Will an emergency or client blow up your day? Yes, of course but with only one to three things to get done I can focus while in the eye of the storm (or at the end of the day) on what actually matters. Not the “other” stuff hanging on the to do list.

3. Once effective, add in efficiency. Now you are focusing on the right tasks or projects so look for ways to be more efficient in those tasks…not just the progress your checked off to do list shows you. As you move forward – incrementally – in accomplishing your goals you will see it, feel it and know you are efficiently effective.

Your productivity goal for 2015: be efficiently effective. Now that is worth striving for…every day.

Here’s to you being your best productive self.

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