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Are You Effective or Efficient?

“If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.”

  • Lee Iacocca 

Business Success Concept It took me years and years before I realized I could be efficient (achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense), without being effective (successful in producing a desired or intended result).

I learned early on in my Marine Corps career to do “more with less” (the real Marine Corps Motto, Hah!)  I became very good at working in a well-organized and competent way.  Don’t get me wrong, I still work in a well-organized fashion.  I actually live my entire life that way, which often times drives my wife nuts, I’m almost OCD about it. (Okay, maybe not almost.) Because I focused so much on efficiency and not effectiveness, I was not very successful in producing my desired result of…well….being successful.

I now run each day through this filter, “Will doing this bring me closer to what I am trying to accomplish, or not?”  Plenty of times, I would get caught up in the details of perfecting some process, procedure or policy, only to find that in the end, I was a hamster on a wheel.  I was no closer to solving a long-term problem, no closer to realizing my personal vision (CLICK HERE FOR PERSONAL VISION), no closer to building the life I wanted for my wife and kids.

Nowadays, I still seek to be efficient but only at those tasks that are effective in moving me towards the goal line.  However, if I’m not efficient in those effective tasks because I’m not good at them, or they are too hard, or whatever excuse, I still do them.  Do the things that are effective first and efficiency will follow later.

Ask yourself, “What am I doing today that is effectively moving me toward realizing my personal vision?”


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