Efficiency and Effectiveness

priorityPeter Drucker, the influential management consultant and writer, says that efficiency is doing things right but effectiveness is doing the right things.  I used to have a secretary who was the most efficient person I could have found.  It didn’t matter if there was a tricky situation, things were always black and white.  She did things right but there were times that she didn’t do the right thing.

I was thinking about Velma (it WAS the South after all) the other day, wondering how she was getting along and the memory reminded me of the times I wanted to pull my hair out.  It’s easy to teach efficiency but effectiveness takes serious training.

Then I wondered how effective I am now.  I wanted to groan.  I work long hours but do I get the right things done?  I think it all comes down to what the goal is we’re heading for.  My goal is fuzzy so I suspect my effectiveness is fuzzy as well.  It’s time to get my goals better defined and then up my efficiency quotient dramatically.

We all accept that if you’re in business today, you must have a presence on Facebook and Twitter and probably Google+.  If you’re a blogger like I am, then there has to be frequent posting.  If you’re a food blogger like I am, then there’s dishes to create, food to buy, food to prepare and cook, dishes to be photographed and blog posts to be written.

It’s all about time — are we doing what we love doing?  Do we enjoy what we’re doing?   Are there more things we like about our jobs than we hate?  (All jobs have tasks we don’t enjoy)  I’ll admit there are things I do that make me want to spit but thankfully not many.

The trick as I see it is identifying all the tasks we need to complete in order to be effective and then become efficient at getting them done.  No spending time chatting away on social media.  Get in, get it on and get off but do it religiously.

Tips for Effectiveness:

  • Use a Calendar
    Don’t assume you’ll remember you promised to do something a week from Tuesday.
  • Do It Once
    Read the mail and answer it, file it or throw it in the trash. Don’t have 10,000 emails in your inbox.
  • Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
    Rarely will we do things that someone hasn’t already mastered.  Learn from the experts.
  • Outsource
    If something is difficult for you or you hate it so much you procrastinate, pay someone to help you.
  • Set Deadlines
    It’s amazing how much more we accomplish when we know something has to be done
  • Prioritize
    Categorize your tasks into A = do now or you’ll lose your job or go bust, B = things that are important and must be done but aren’t critical and C = those tasks you can fit in when you have a spare moment or need a break.
  • Plan Ahead
    I’m guilty of packing 2 hours before the plane leaves – planning is important so you’ll have matching shoes.
  • Keep Your Desk Clean
    Look at your desk and imagine that it’s your mind.  An organized desk is an organized mind.

We have a choice to fritter our time away in front of the TV or on social media or to use time management tools to get things done.  I know it’s easy to put my feet up and eat a bag of chips while watching TV but that’s not going to get me anywhere.

Do you have effective time management tips?

2 thoughts on “Efficiency and Effectiveness

  1. I used to be so organized. Oddly enough it’s now that the kids are older that I’m struggling to keep up. I think blogging eats up so much time. As does social media. I am trying so hard to get my ducks in a row and thanks to you I am now inspired. The email thing hit home with me. I need to weed through about 300 or 400 this week, I’m so behind.

    Love the photo and the part about being older than dirt. Cracked me right up. I’m 43 and feeling older every single time I look in the mirror.

    • Oh Kim, I love your blog and you let your wackiness out there for all of us to enjoy. Age is only a number and a quantity of wrinkles. You’re only as old as you feel inside and I’m only 35. 🙂

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