Effective Vs. Efficient

June 11, 2013

Ouch, that’s about all I could say after reading part of Tim Ferriss’ book, The Four Hour Workweek.

IStock_000019289272XSmallI have always taken pride in the fact that I can be incredibly efficient when I need to get something done. In fact, I have even made the statement that I seek efficiency in everything I do. That’s why I am always looking for some new technique or way of doing things better and faster.

I thought this was a good thing. After all, I am the enterprenurial type, and we are always looking for ways to fix problems. Right?

Well, as I was reading through Tim’s book, I get to this section where he talks about the difference between effectiveness and efficiency. According to Tim, effectiveness is doing things that get you closer to your goals. Efficiency is doing a task(whether it’s important or not) in the most economical manner possible.

At first, he threw me for a loop when I read this, but then after thinking about it for a second, I realized that these 2 things are not one in the same.

You see, I can and have been very efficient many times in my life, but I have not always done what was the most effective use of my time. I have been incredibly efficient in setting up ways to get my desk cleaned up. I have been incredibly efficient in getting projects done over the years, whether it was in school, or even in business. But, was I being effective? Did me taking the time to streamline a way to get my desk cleared make me any more money. More importantly, did it actually free up any more of my time?

That is an important distinction. And, it’s one that we really have to ask ourselves if we are wanting to take our lives to the next level.

Is what you are doing today, this very moment, taking you closer to, or further away from where you want to be in your life? Answer that question honestly and see if you come up with the same response as I did. Hopefully, your ouch doesn’t hurt quite as much.

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