For years I’ve focused on efficiency, when I should have been focusing on effectiveness.
Efficiency is essentially doing things the right way, while effectiveness is doing the right things.
It’s a wonderful thing to be doing things the right way, not wasting any time, getting a lot of work done in less time, but what if you’re doing a wonderful job on the wrong things?
Effectiveness can take more time, but it will yield a greater result.
Efficiency can take less time, but if you’re efficient on the wrong task – or even a task that isn’t quite necessary, or even a task that isn’t the absolute best task – then you’re going to do great work in less time but get a lesser end result than the effective route.
Of course, being efficient at what is effective is the ideal.
And sometimes, you have to do things that aren’t effective in the short term but will become effective in the long term.
Business is risk. Life is risk. You’re essentially guessing what the best thing to do is, and then you dedicate a lot of time and effort to doing that thing.
What do you do?
Much of it is trial and error. You essentially have to know what not to do to know what to do.
To know what not to do you often have to fail at a few things to get a clear idea of what must be done.
Another aspect of it is learning, and not from mistakes but from understanding decision-making, business, your business, whatever it is you’re trying to do or achieve or win at.
Reading is incredibly important, as is risk-taking.
It’s harder to make a time risk than a financial one, because time is fleeting, it’s something you can’t get back, but even if you make the wrong decision, the time isn’t wasted if it leads to the right decision.
Just keep that question in mind: are you doing what’s effective?
That is, what’s the most important thing you can do right now, and importance is measured by how much closer the task or project or action gets you to your ultimate goal.
Keep asking. Continue assessing. Get to the point where everything you do moves you forward, not sideways or backward.