You wake up early. Quickly take your shower, dress up, be the first to get to work. Then you begin working, you work, work, work, work and work. You check off almost everything on your checklist for the day. Wow! What a great asset you are to the company!
You’ve sent out 50 different emails already and you’ve cleared your plate for the day even before time. You are really efficient! But are you being effective? How many clients were satisfied with your service? How many of those emails were customize to get the client’s attention and how many were replied?
Efficiency = Activity / Time
Efficiency simply means we are doing more things in less time. It’s like throwing out more seeds in order to finish planting quickly. Instead of preparing grounds for the seeds, laying them out in rows as a good farmer would do, you just throw them out so as to finish the process quickly. You will, but how many of those seeds will grow? How many will yield fruits?
Being efficient is good, but efficiency alone is shallow. Efficiency will get things done faster but it can’t facilitate good relationship with the people in your sphere.
Imagine I’m so busy being efficient at work that I ignore a colleague who needs help. I will have time to finish my work for the day, but I have missed the opportunity to plant a seed that will foster a good relationship which may help in making the company grow. Efficiency is short term!
Effectiveness = Efficiency x K (constant)
Effectiveness is efficiency multiplied. Being effective means being even more efficient in the long run.
You wake up early, you spend some time to have breakfast with your family. You feel the love, your wife and children feel it too. There’s joy all around. You manage to get to work on time, not the first to get to work, but you get there on time. You start working, accomplish a little then a colleague asks for help with something. You realize they cannot continue their day’s work without that help they’re asking. You give them 30 minutes of your time and they’re so grateful.
Another time, you need someone to do something for you urgently because you’re ill and home. This colleague volunteers and gives you 2 hours of their time!! They save you from all the trouble that would’ve come up if the task was left undone!
This is effectiveness!!
Efficiency is for machines
Machines are required to be efficient. We try hard to let their efficiency hit 100% but that’s impossible. They don’t have emotions, machines have one aim, to complete its tasks. Humans are way above that! Humans are to be effective. You’re working but are you getting the work done? And is it being done rightly?
Let’s say I have a project to complete. If a machine finishes 10% everyday, we can assume the machine will finish in 10 days right? Humans are different. You may start, finish 10% each day for three days, and fall sick on the fourth day due to stress, then take a whole month to finish the project!
An effective person knows how to keep the balance! An effective person knows they have to spend a few days planning and possibly thinking through it with another human. They may spend 3 days doing nothing but brainstorming and planning, and finish the whole project in 3 days! Making it 6 days!
They didn’t seem so efficient in the first three days. No percentage of the project was done in the first three days. But because two people took the time to understand each other and understand the project, they finished within 6 days. That’s effectiveness!
On and on…
We can go on and on with this. Sometimes we try to apply efficiency to our relationships. “Baby speak up quickly so we fix this issue and get over with it”. That’s so wrong! Give it the needed time and get it fixed well!
Anytime you’re getting so stressed and neglecting some of the important things and people in your life, know that you’re being efficient, but not effective.
Be effective! Make optimal use of yourself and your life!