It’s virtually possible to track every minute of your work life. And therefore, you can identify precisely what you should focus on to improve your productivity.
But is it necessary?
Productivity has been known as the rate at which a factory produces good. Applied to your job, productivity is the rate at which you get things done.
Getting things done is part of anyone’s job. But productivity should not be the way of measuring your performance. Do you judge your team’s work based on how tired they are or how great the result is?
Efficient or effective?
Choosing to work on the right things is what makes your work effective.
There’s a difference between efficiency and effectiveness, as Peter Drucker highlighted in The Effective Executive. The former means doing lots of things fast, productivity. The latter is doing the right things well, result. One is based on pace, the other one is rooted in impact.
Next time you plan your day, avoid the effort trap. The truth is that how hard you work unfortunately doesn’t matter to most people. They are just interested in seeing great results.
Notes about Being Effective and Efficient
The Cambridge Dictionary has great definitions of both:
We use efficient to describe something or someone that works in a quick and organised way:
The new online banking system offers a convenient and efficient way to check your account.
We use effective to describe something that gives you the results you want:
Taking this tablet is a very effective cure for travel sickness.
To sum up:
Doing something in an efficient way—doing it well and fast—isn’t useful if you’re not working on something that is effective—something that will produce the results you want.