Last week’s blog (https://www.carolynmahboubi.com/blog/foso-is-holding-you-back ) garnered a lot of comments and questions from my community. Several people asked about a short sentence in the middle of the blog that was left unexplored.
The statement was, “Efficiency and effectiveness are not the same.”
Understanding the distinction between these two words makes all the difference if our goal is to create more impact with our time, not just check off boxes on our To Do list.
Efficiency is a how and effectiveness is a what.
When we are acting efficiently, we are cultivating our ability to do things well, successfully and without waste.
This is a good thing.
Most of us are remarkably efficient as we move through our days. We’ve become so masterful at multitasking and we regularly get more tasks done while spending less of our most precious resource, time.
If we were machines, we’d be considered excellent in efficiency compared to say 50 or even 10 years ago.
Effectiveness is a result and it has to do with our power to produce an effect.
Last week’s blog was meant to provoke the question, “Given all the things I do in the course of a day, am I producing the exact effect and impact I desire?”
Efficiency is a valuable skill; one we absolutely need to develop and deploy in different areas of life. If I wasn’t consistently growing my ability to be a more efficient runner, I could never complete long distances. Training my body to drink, eat and continue to function at a high level while moving at a fast speed (for my body) on rough terrain takes a level of efficiency without which I couldn’t partake in ultramarathon races.
Most working parents can do so many things at once that they are truly a wonder to watch. I’ll never forget how when my son was 3 years old and I had just opened the Saint Laurent boutique on Rodeo Drive for the Gucci Group (now Kering), I used my lunch break every single working day for 2 straight years to drive the 7 minutes it took to get home. I would play with him and lie next to him in my full work attire pretending to nap until I heard the blessed cadence of his breath indicating he was asleep. I would then quietly sneak out of the room and drive back to work while hurriedly eating lunch in the car.
I hear you judging my parenting and I agree!
If I’d known better at that time in my life, I would have done better. If any client of mine behaves in the way I was 16 years ago, I would help them find much more intelligent and effective solutions to the problem of a toddler who refuses to nap without mom by his side.
But I didn’t know better, and today I prefer to learn from those experiences and use them to better my clients’ lives rather than give into the harmful habit of rumination and the shame spiral that inevitably follows.
You see, most of us are already very efficient. And I’m not wanting you to become less so, but rather to begin living the truth that high efficiency does not equal high effectiveness. And of course the opposite is true as well. Highly effective and impactful people may not be seen by the world at large as multitasking wizards. On the contrary, from the outside they look so relaxed (while challenged by the same external circumstances as others) that they appear less ambitious.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. They are the most audacious, relentless and focused people I know, and consider the tradeoff between doing more and doing better a no brainer.
To be effective, we need to slow down to doing the following work which you can attempt on your own but is always more fruitful with a professional.
- Identify you top 3-5 Life Buckets ( https://www.carolynmahboubi.com/blog/how-to-find-more-time-in-life)
- Get clear on the difference between commitment and intention (https://www.carolynmahboubi.com/blog/commitment-vs-intention)
- Make a commitment to actions that deposit in your Life Buckets and let go of the rest of the habitual behaviors that withdraw from your Buckets without ever depositing.
- Put in guardrails that will keep you “on purpose” every single day (https://www.carolynmahboubi.com/blog/the-morning-practice)
- Go pro with your calendar – I don’t care how “spontaneous” you are, there is no getting around this step if you want to live life as an effective leader, parent, and human. (https://www.carolynmahboubi.com/blog/youre-killing-my-soul)
- Create a Not To Do List and give yourself permission to keep it dynamic – adding to and subtracting from it as life transforms. (https://www.carolynmahboubi.com/blog/the-shit-i-dont-have-time-for-list)
- Get all the support you deserve while you let go of the unrealistic ideal of life balance and instead aim for life integration (https://www.carolynmahboubi.com/blog/balance-is-a-verb).
This work is meant to be done over months, not days.
Be kind, patient, and committed. Ensure you are sourced and supported. You can do this!
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