Double Productivity by Being Effective NOT Efficient
“Information overload” and “doing more with less”. Do these phrases sound familiar? We have more information coming at us from more sources than ever before. Phone, texts, email, social media and even good old fashioned direct person to person communication can bog us all down, yet we are expected to accomplish more with limited resources.
Is there a way out without falling into the abyss? Yes, there is. First we need to understand the difference between being “effective” vs. being “efficient”. Being efficient is completing a number of tasks in a limited amount of time. Filing ten documents in five minutes or responding to 20 emails in 15 minutes can be considered to be efficient but is it effective?
Effectiveness can be defined as the level of impact you had in helping you or your organization achieve its goals. You may have spent a whole day on one task such as implementing as new process but if this new process saves your thousands of dollars per year chances are you had an effective day.
So how do transition from being efficient to being effective? Follow these 5 strategies.
1. Know What You Want
It is imperative that you have your long and short term goals established before starting your day. Ask yourself, “how will I know if I had an effective day?” then spent at least 80% of your time working to achieve your goal.
2. Have a System
To keep on track decide ahead of time how you will handle the daily inflow of information. What is your criteria to decide what you will work on now and what can be done later? How will you file and store the information so it is easy to find and keep track of.
3. Use Pareto’s Law
Also known as the “80/20 rule” this simple strategy is based on the premise that 20% of your tasks will produce 80% of your outcome. Try to delay, delegate or eliminate the 80% of the tasks that only product 20% of your outcome. This simple strategy alone can double your effectiveness overnight.
Have a system to help you prioritize based on Urgent vs. Non Urgent or the A,B,C,D method to create your “to do” list” in an order than gets you focusing on the high impact tasks first.
5. Block Schedule Your Tasks
A common mistake made by many people is that they put off high impact tasks for “when they have time”. Reverse this now. Make a list of your high impact tasks and pre-schedule them into your agenda. Make them your number one priority and with the exception of absolute emergencies do not waiver from your schedule. Once you have scheduled ample time to work on your high impact tasks you can then schedule time to work on your lower impact tasks.
Changing your mindset from measuring productivity based on effectiveness vs. efficiency can have a profound impact on your organization’s growth, profits and long term success.
Tony Malyk, Vancouver Business Performance Coach