Are you Focused on Efficiency or Effectiveness?

Three people collaborating at a desk in front of a large monitor.

Doug Post | December 28, 2022

On a typical day, I look at my to-do list, select an item, and jump into my work. Occasionally, I remind myself to look through the items on my list and consider where I am investing my time and energy. As I step back, I ask myself if I’m wisely choosing what I’m working on and if I’m getting the desired results. Am I being an efficient employee or an effective employee? They are different. One is more important than the other.

Efficient is doing things in an optimal way.
Effective is doing the right things, and it shows in the results of your work.

Peter Drucker, a management consultant and writer, said, “Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things.” So, while both efficiency and effectiveness are important, one must prioritize effectiveness above efficiency. You can be efficient at various tasks all day long, but if there is little value in the tasks you are completing, you are wasting time and being ineffective.

Ideally, you prioritize your work according to what will help the organization be most effective. What is going to help deliver the best results to our clients? Once that is determined, you can also work as efficiently as possible.

I encourage you to take a few minutes and look at your to-do list this week. Analyze it a bit. Are you doing work that will actually make an impact and a difference? Do you need to challenge yourself and the items on your to-do list to be more effective?