I’ve always tended to focus on being efficient – performing a task with maximum productivity and minimum wasted effort or expense.

I expect to succeed with my goals when I’ve been efficient.

But sometimes I don’t, and I wonder why.


Introducing effectiveness

The reason why is simple – a lack of effectiveness.

In Tim Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Work Week, he defines effectiveness to be ‘doing the things that get you closer to your goals’.

He observes that our default is to be efficient without considering whether we’re being effective. You can spend a day efficiently completing a complex task but if the task wasn’t worth doing, you weren’t being effective.


Making a change

The change from just being efficient to being both efficient and effective seems to come down to just one thing – asking yourself this simple question:

Does this task get me closer to achieving my goals?

I’ve started asking myself this question throughout my work day and have seen immediate benefits. I feel like I have more time (because I’ve cut out tasks that weren’t effective) and I feel like I make better use of the time that I do have.

It doesn’t guarantee success, but it’s a start.


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Also published on Medium.