Don't both words mean the same thing?
The answer to that......a BIG FAT NO!!
It feels great when you get things done really quickly right? You tick everything off the list and get things done? That's called being efficient.
As a Virtual Assistant business, we get asked all the time how efficient we are, usually this question comes up when we do our discovery calls. My answer? ''We manage our workloads effectively and work through it efficiently''. Roughly translated, we get the right stuff done first. Whatever is going to make the biggest impact, gets completed first. Why? Because anyone can tick off To-Do's set out in a random order. It takes an effective person to judge what should come first.
Which one would you prefer to be if you had to choose?
Of course, being both is ideally the goal you want to strive for.
However, knowing the difference between the two is a key starting point, especially when running a business. Knowing the difference will give you clear perspective when working through the workload and allow you to make informed decisions with clarity and ease.
In order to clearly understand the difference, lets give an example of the differences between efficient and effective.
What does being effective mean?
“adequate to accomplish a purpose; producing the intended or expected result.”
So basically you make an impact through doing what you need to do.
What does being efficient mean?
“performing in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort.”
Being efficient is doing something quickly to save time and effort.
Efficient doesn’t mean that you produce results, it also doesn't allow for you to prioritise.
Efficient is how quickly you do something.
Answering every call or every email quickly is efficient - is it effective though?
If an email doesn't require a response from you right now but you answer it; whilst interrupting an effective task you were in the middle of, would it be worth it, for the sake of getting something done right away? Will it make the biggest impact to your business?
You know the answers by now.
So remember - effective comes first, efficient comes second! Ideally, be both.
Keep an eye out for our next blog, where we'll be sharing our top tips on 'how to be effective'.