Effectiveness VS Efficiency

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“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”

Peter Drucker


Are you meeting your deadlines, or did you miss an important project delivery once again? Or are you an overwhelmed parent who can’t get all things done at home? If so, you have probably heard, “do this more efficiently” or “you should be more effective”. Yes, efficiency and effectiveness are crucial time management attributes that help you achieve your goals.

I consider myself both, effective and efficient. No bragging! I firmly believe that one should have both qualities in order to be a successful individual and build a thriving business. When you assign priorities to your tasks, you need to do it efficiently but not forgetting about the effectiveness. Being efficient and effective are two different things.


  • Effective: Performing to the highest standards and accomplishing a purpose; producing the intended or expected result.
  •  Efficient: Performing or functioning in the best possible manner without wasting time on unnecessary tasks.

 If you are efficient, you are performing in the best possible manner without wasting your time. While effectiveness means “how useful something is”, efficiency refers to “how well something is done”. Ideally, employees and companies want to be both effective and efficient. But in reality some individuals and businesses are effective but not efficient or vice versa. Here is an example from my own experience. A few years ag, we implemented cutting-edge technology to create a new sales channel. Lots of investment was made, and people were trained to use and manage that channel properly in record time. However, the sales didn’t go up. OThe overall strategy of the company was efficient but not effective.

Aligning your goals with your resources and your to-do list is the key. Below is an example of how people can be effective but inefficient. So, basically, if you are pursuing wrong goals and you are not producing results, you should be fired.

Doing the Right Things

Pursuing the right but inefficient goals (high costs)

Pursuing the right and efficient goals (high ROI, cost efficiency)

Pursuing the wrong and inefficient goals (low productivity, high costs)

Pursuing the wrong but efficient goals (low productivity but low costs as well)


Good news is there are many ways how individuals and businesses can improve their effectiveness and efficiency. To boost your effectiveness, you may need to do the following:

  • Improve communication with your team
  • Provide a better interaction with your colleagues
  • Know your Direction & Goals
  • Become more adaptable to changes
  • Create a positive and enjoyable environment

To improve efficiency, you may want to try these:

  • Embrace feedback from others
  • Focus on achievable goals
  • Track time spent on tasks
  • Get rid of distractions
  • Avoid useless meetings