Being Productive Does NOT Mean You’re Being Efficient And/Or Effective

According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, improving oneself entails 73.9% of people’s continuous desires and goals. What an encouraging information this is; to see that the greater majority of individuals recognize that they could think better, do things better, or even simply be a better person.

Through hundreds of self-development inquiries, below you can find one of the most popular ones with a focus on, but not limited to, professional self-development topics. And as always, should you need further assistance in planning and accomplishing this topic, reach out to me.

Clearly, there is a big difference between productivity and efficiently and effectively productive. Think about the tasks you complete throughout the day. Due to the simple fact that you have finished a task, you have automatically acquired a productive status. But, could you have accomplished your tasks better and faster? That is, could you have been more efficient and effective?

You can be working 10 hours a day, but are you being effective? Could you accomplish the same results with less hours?

To be productive means that you will be producing results. To be efficient and effective, however, takes familiarity with your allocated resources, tools, and environment. After you move from the unknown to the known, getting familiar with how things work is the very first step to being efficient and effective at your current role. Here are some pointers on being productive, efficient, and effective simultaneously:

  • Familiarity - First and foremost, be familiar with your role, responsibilities, tools, and resources so that you can maximize your output.

  • Performance - At the end of the day, work must be performed to produce results. As part of the process to being efficient and effective, you must take the “baby steps”, where you will learn through experience and practice what it takes to efficiently and effectively walk, and doing it so up-straight.

  • Performance Analysis - After a few weeks of performance, during this stage, you step back from your daily routines and analyze your performance as if you were the boss. Some questions to facilitate this stage are:

  • What work/task has been performed?

  • How long did each work/task take?

  • How often was this work/task performed?

  • What resources were used to accomplish this work/task?

  • What was the quality like of the work/task performed?

  • Effectiveness Overview - Answering the questions posed in your Performance Analysis stage is a prerequisite to moving along to your effectiveness stage. Effectiveness is about the power to produce an outcome or achieve a desired and planned-for result. To put it together in a real-world application, let’s assume that your task was to use your email as a channel of communication with your colleagues and bosses.

  • What task has been performed?

  • Accessed, read, sent, and replied to emails.

  • How long did this task take?

  • 6 hours (the national U.S. average for checking emails is 6.3 hours daily)

  • How often was this task performed?

  • 12 times per day (the national U.S. average for how many times a person checks their email in a day is 15 times)

  • What resources were used to accomplish this task?

  • Laptop, smartphone, internet/data plan, and time (working and personal times)

  • What was the quality like of the task performed?

  • Average: Communication exchanges were often unnecessary and unclear

  • Efficiency Overview - Efficiency is about producing with a minimum waste, expense, or unnecessary effort. Following the example used in the Effectiveness Overview, and applying efficiency to the task, let’s assume the same set of questions for the same task (use your email as a channel of communication with your colleagues and bosses).

  • What work/task has been performed?

  • Accessed, read, sent, and replied to emails (Same task, for efficiency deals with the “How”, and not the “What”)

  • How long did each work/task take?

  • 2:30 Hours per day

  • How often was this work/task performed?

  • 1 hour at 7:30am

  • 1 hour at 1:00pm

  • 30 minutes at 5:00pm

  • What resources were used to accomplish this work/task?

  • Laptop, internet, and time

  • What was the quality like of the work/task performed?

  • Exceptional: Communication exchanges were often directed to the involved parties and specific actions needed/taken were mentioned

In order to be efficiently and effectively productive, consider the following elements.

  • Environment - What does it take you to “Get In The Zone”? Your environment has huge implications on your productivity (It’s been measured that a good percentage of your productivity is actually factored due to your environment)

  • Collaboration Efforts - You’re not alone. Learning how to collaborate on tasks and projects, while promoting good professional relationships, pays off great dividends when seeking to accomplish more and better quality results.

  • Systems - Upon being familiar with your job role, build a system (or systems) to address your repetitive tasks to facilitate the automation of those given tasks. If it can’t be automated, develop a step-by-step pathway so that you can even pass that task opportunity to someone else.

  • Tools - If you want to nail a nail into a piece of wood, how do you go about it? No trick question here; you simply will use a hammer. If you don’t have one; you’ll go buy one. Or you might want to use a substitute: a mallet, a piece of metal, or even another small piece of wood. The point is, you’ll use a tool to get the job done (nail that nail into that piece of wood). What just happened is a simple application of the concept of true economics; the knowledge of the efficient use and allocation of resources. Search around your workplace, what tools/resources can help you be efficiently and effectively productive?

  • Progress/Performance Tracking - “There’s always room for improvement,” we’ve all heard. Tracking performance progress overtime allows you to see in detail where and how things are working or not working. It creates opportunities to nurture an action, halt an action, or create new and better actions.

  • To-Do Lists - We live in a world where constant valuable and interesting information overwhelms us. To not lose track of what needs to be done and the things that have been done already, creating a To-Do List helps you stay focused and targeted.

  • Pareto Principle - This is also known as the 80/20 rule, which basically means that 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of effort. Keeping this rule in mind will help you focus on the most important tasks and get better results.

As previously mentioned, there is a big difference between productivity and efficiently and effectively productive. The awareness of your environment, your collaboration efforts, your usage of systems (or even creation of systems), your usage of the tools at your disposal, your progress tracking, your to-do lists, and your Pareto principle are all elements that contribute to an efficiently and effectively productivity.


What other thoughts would you add to this post? I am interested in hearing your thoughts in the comments below.

As always, thank you for reading my post. Through Sprowl & Smith Coaching, I am always writing about productivity, being ready, and flourishing. Should you be interested in reading my future posts, please click “Subscribe” and feel free to also connect via Twitter, Facebook, g+, Youtube, and Sprowl & Smith Coaching.

You might also be interested in my new and free system for achieving your goals while staying highly productive and organized on both your personal and professional lives. You can download this system here: The Engineering of Getting What You Want / Reaching Your Goals

About the Author

Mike Sprowl is becoming the most sought after Readiness & Flourishing Coach and Consultant in the coaching community. He is famous for helping clients find a direction, implement personalized pathways, and facilitate flourishing and growth so that their lives are meaningful and purposeful without being negative.

#Productivity #Efficiency #Effectiveness #Work #Task

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