To improve your productivity you need to increase your efficiency, increase your effectiveness or increase both at the same time.
But to do that, you need to know the difference between the two, because it’s pretty easy to get them mixed up.
Efficiency represents the time and effort involved in doing something based on the approach that you decide to use.
Increasing efficiency means finding a faster, easier or less wasteful way of accomplishing some result.
For example, using a word processor is more efficient than using a typewriter because it’s a quicker, simpler and easier way to get the job done.
Effectiveness is very different. It’s about whether the actions you are taking produce the results that you want.
In the example of the letter, effectiveness would be about the message in the letter. It would be about choosing the right words and using the right tone so that the letter communicates the ideas you want in a clear way and it has the effect you want on the reader.
Effectiveness is about choosing the right strategy to use in order to produce the results that you want, while efficiency is about the time/effort involved while implementing that strategy.
Productivity is a result of both efficiency and effectiveness.
You need both to be very productive.
If you have effectiveness but not efficiency, you’ll get the results that you want, but you’ll waste a lot of time, effort and energy in the process.
If you have efficiency but not effectiveness, you’ll get a lot of “stuff” done, but it won’t produce the results that you ultimately want.
Efficiency is about doing things the right way and effectiveness is about doing the right things.
One of the best ways to increase your efficiency is to think regularly about the WAY that you do things and ask yourself, “Is there a simpler, easier or better way to do this?”
You may need to experiment with different approaches to see if you can find a more efficient or less wasteful way of getting to the same result.
Another way to increase efficiency is to use technology to automate, speed up, simplify or make an activity easier. Writing a letter with a word processor instead of a typewriter is a good example.
In this article, I focused on efficiency… in the next article we’ll look at the other critical component: effectiveness.
But for now…
1) Think about how you can do your most important tasks in a simpler, faster or easier way
2) Prioritize and plan your time so you invest it on valuable and important activities
If you want to discover other great ways to improve your time management skills and be more productive, check out the Be More Productive time management training program…
It’s a great resource for people who want to know how to take control of their time and really get things done.