Efficiency vs. effectiveness, what’s the difference?

When you’re in the daily battle of getting things done on your task list—are you being efficient, or being effective?

The last thing you probably want right now is a vocabulary lesson—but there’s only two words, and learning the difference between efficient and effective will actually increase your overall productivity.

Being efficient

Efficiency is how fast and how well you’re getting things done.

Imagine you have the task of clearing a path through a jungle. By sharpening your tools before you start hacking you are able to clear the path in much less time. This means you’re being efficient! Being efficient at your task is very important—otherwise, nothing gets done.

Being effective

Effectiveness isn’t just getting things done quickly, it’s getting the right things done.

When you’re effective, you’re not just checking tasks off your to do list, you’re working on your highest priority task first, then the next highest—and so on.

Back to our jungle, an efficient person would sharpen their tools then just start hacking a path—but an effective person would check a map and a compass first, to make sure the path is headed in the right direction.

All the efficiency in the world doesn’t matter if you’re moving in the wrong direction.

Okay, vocabulary lesson over, you can get back to work. Just remember to first, be effective and make sure you’re working on your highest priority, THEN, let efficiency kick in and get it done!