Productivity, Efficiency, Effectiveness: What’s the difference?

The terms productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness are often used as synonyms in casual conversation and by many managers. However, there’s a big difference in the results that are achieved by maximizing each of these measurements.


Productivity is technically regarded as a measure of Outputs divided by Inputs. All of the activities that you get done in a day may be considered your output and the time you put into them would be your inputs.


Efficiency is a measure of how well you do those things. If you are able to get more outputs from the same inputs, you are said to have increased your efficiency. To increase your absolute production you need to either provide additional inputs or to improve your efficiency.


Effectiveness is a measure of doing the “right things.” Highly effective individuals and companies act in ways that move their highest priorities forward on a regular basis.

  • Productivity = Output / Input
  • Efficiency = Doing things right
  • Effectiveness = Doing the right things

PlanPlus Online offers greats tools for helping individuals and organizations maintain a high level of individual effectiveness by creating alignment between a Mission Statement, Values, Goals and daily activities.

The Business edition of PlanPlus Online is also available to help your business increase its Productivity, Efficiency, and Effectiveness. Please take the time to consult with one of our Productivity Coaches to learn how you can make the most of PlanPlus Online for your business.