The keys to improving efficiency and effectiveness are spending the right time, with the right energy, working on the right things, in the right way. Efficiency is about the “means,” while effectiveness is about the “end” result. Efficiency is a metric for speed and cost, while effectiveness is metric for quality and goodness. Asking, “Is it effective?” is really asking if you are achieving the goal. On the other hand, asking, “Is it efficient?” is asking if you are doing it at the least cost in terms of time, money, and energy. Here are some solutions at a glance for efficiency and effectiveness:
How to boost your productivity levels
Think in terms of daily, weekly, and monthly results as a rhythm of results. The key factors for influencing your productivity include focus, energy, time, technique, strengths, motivation, and teamwork. Focus on outcomes over activities. By focusing on results, you can find more efficient ways to produce those results. Another way is to reduce open work. If you have to task switch across a lot of work, you’ll spend more time figuring out where you left off and more time in administration or planning, and less time executing. Another way is to improve your focus. Improve your focus by working on fewer things that are higher priority. Improve your energy to improve your results. You can improve your energy by finding your motivation, as well as spending more time on your strengths, instead of things that make you week. Carve out time for results. Increase your power hours and your creative hours and schedule them to match up with your natural rhythms and cycles. Pair up and team up with people that improve your performance.
How to improve efficiency
There are several ways to improve your efficiency: give yourself less time, do things during your power hours, change your pace, and find the best techniques. One of the best first steps is by giving yourself less time—it forces you to find a better way. You can then test different techniques with the same amount of time, to see which produces the best results. For example, if you give yourself less time to spend in email, you’ll quickly find ways to improve your efficiency. One of the simplest ways to find other techniques is to ask people you know.
How to improve effectiveness
There are several ways to improve your effectiveness: know what good looks like, know the tests for success, improve your feedback loops, and change your approach. First get clarity on the results you want. Ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish?” To find the tests for success, ask yourself, “If I got the result I wanted, how would I know?” A big part of improving your effectiveness is taking action, testing your results, and changing your approach if you’re not getting what you want. Your feedback informs you how to change. Sometimes the best thing you can do is shorten your feedback loop so you have a tighter connection between your actions, your results, and your feedback. Another way to improve your effectiveness is to model from what works. Find three reference models or examples that you can learn from. This can include using mentors to help improve your effectiveness.