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Working Effectively vs. Efficiently - Know The Difference!

Updated: Jun 21, 2021

I’m amazed at how many people don’t know or understand the difference between the two. I had a manager one time who didn’t understand the difference and thought they were the same. He was very efficient at checking and replying to emails on his phone, but this distracted him from being effective in producing the required results. As a result, he was let go from the company. In business today, it’s paramount to know and understand the difference between the two to be successful.


Working effectively vs. efficiently

So what is the difference?


Effective: Adequate to accomplish a purpose; producing the intended or expected result.


Efficient: Performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort.


In business, I think of efficiency as using the least amount of time and energy to accomplish a required task. Whereas I think of effectiveness as doing the right task at the right time to achieve the required result.


Here's an example


To help illustrate let's use the following analogy. You replace an old incandescent light bulb on your front porch with a new compact fluorescent or LED light bulb. The porch light is now more efficient because it is using less energy to perform its task of creating light. When it’s on at night, it’s effective too as it’s lighting your front porch. If you leave the light on during the day, it’s still efficient at performing its task of creating light, but it’s not effective!


Learning to be both effective and efficient, is what I call working smart. You are delivering the required results while saving time, an essential key element if you travel for work. You have to find ways that are quicker to accomplish a task but also learn to do the task at the right time to provide the required results.


What's it all about?


To summarise, effectiveness is about doing the right task at the right time, completing activities on time, and achieving goals. Efficiency is about doing things in an optimal/fastest way exerting the least amount of energy or in the least expensive way. It could be the right thing to do, and it was done optimally, but it could be the wrong time.



David Garcia Gonzalez life coach

My Background

Hi, I'm David García-González! I'm a bilingual entrepreneur who is in love with languages and communication.

My passion is empowering and helping entrepreneurs and company owners transform their business with confidence, and create a life they love.


To get in touch and see how I can help you, contact me.