Are you effective or efficient?

Do you know the difference between effective and efficient?

Effective means that you can accomplish an expected result. Efficient means you can do it with the least amount of wasted time and effort.

To put it another way, being effective is doing the right thing while being efficient is doing the right thing in the right way.

You are effective when you are sitting at your desk compiling a list of people to call for referrals or listening to a self-improvement CD. If, however, you stop every five minutes to check your e-mails, talk with a coworker or text a friend, you aren’t being efficient.

According to research, the leading time-wasting activities on the job are personal internet use, socializing with coworkers and conducting personal business. These distractions consume an average of 2.1 hours every day. Add to this the time people take off for lunch, coffee, bathroom breaks, errands and smoking, and there aren’t many hours left to be productive.

Another study found that workers spend an average of 11 minutes on a project before being distracted and that, once they are distracted, it takes anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes to return to the original task.

In an eight-hour workday, at what point do these unexpected, unplanned interruptions become disruptions? How can you concentrate on selling new homes if you’re in a reactionary mode all day?

As my mother used to say when someone got distracted from something important, “Don’t get so busy mopping the floor that you forget to turn off the faucet.”

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