Efficiency, effectiveness and productivity in your personal life

Any task you do should be done both efficiently and effectively. Efficiency is doing something in the best possible way, while effectiveness is doing the best possible thing.

When you do something as efficiently and effectively as possible, you are being productive. In business, productivity is frequently referred to as the amount output per unit of input.

Productivity is a combined measurement of efficiency and effectiveness. It can be influenced by many factors, including the skill of the workers, condition of equipment, environment, and even the culture of the organization.

Efficiency, effectiveness and productivity need not be work-related. You can be very efficient at picking wild berries; but if they’re poisonous you’re not being very effective. On the other hand, picking delicious, nutritious berries might be effective, but doing so by choosing only the large ones and removing them from the bush one at a time might not be the most efficient way of doing it.

If efficiency in life were measured in units of happiness per unit of input we could easily use these terms when discussing quality of life. The quality and type of input is important. If it consists of minimal effort, an unhelpful attitude and negativity, output will be poor and efficiency low. But if your input in life is positive, helpful, friendly and joyful, output will be high, efficient and fulfilling.

As in everything else, there are exceptions. But having the odds in your favour is a great stress reliever as well. And stress seems to be a catalyst for many diseases, including high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety, heart attacks and even cancer.

To be productive, you must create value, whether that is in the form of useful products, improved health, a happier life or a needed service.

Isaac Asimov, known primarily for his science fiction novels, wrote over 500 books, hundreds of short stories and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards before he died at age 72. He created value, not only in terms of revenue, but in bringing entertainment to millions of people.

Mother Theresa, Catholic nun and missionary, dedicated her life to helping the poor, the sick and the dying. She was responsible for the opening of orphanages, hospices, leper houses, schools and clinics.

Vincent van Gogh produced 860 oil paintings over a ten-year period for an average of 86 a year. Both quantity and quality were involved – and certainly value.

“Garbage in garbage out” refers to more than just computers. It is equally true for life itself. If you want good friends, be a good friend. If you want to get, give. If you want to succeed, help others succeed. If you want good health, live a healthy lifestyle. And so on.

In your personal life, purpose, mission, personal goals, policies and values all help increase your effectiveness. And technology, creativity, routines, habits, organization and the wise use of time all help increase your efficiency. These factors are not restricted to the business world.

 

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