The important thing - is knowing what the important thing is!

Increasing productivity and efficiency are common workplace goals.
Many believe that working hard and being busy equates to efficiency. Yet efficiency doesn't attract the desired results unless this effort is being applied to the right tasks or priorities.

Busy, we may be – productive, not necessarily.

Productivity is a combination of effectiveness and efficiency.

Being effective is about 'doing the right things'.

Being efficient is about 'doing things right'.

Ideally we need to be working on the 'important things' in the first place. Being efficient in tasks that are not important doesn't help a person, team or business to achieve their goals.

What we choose to invest our time into can be different depending on the job, level of responsibility and situation. It's for you to consciously make these choices.

Important tip

If you are overwhelmed or feel like you're not making progress even though you're working at pace, take a couple of deep breaths and ask yourself one simple question:

What is the 'most important thing' that you need to do right now?

If you had to prioritise, what one thing would you choose?

The result of this simple decision allows us to prioritise. If you've ever looked at your to-do list and thought "I just don’t know where to start", focusing on just ONE or maybe TWO 'important things' will help you to reset your priorities and alleviate stress levels.

Being effective is a skill that needs to be honed. At its core is an ability to look through the fog of a large list of tasks and isolate what the 'most important thing' is to get the result you need.

Once you have the 'important thing' nailed, then and only then can you start to look at how to be more efficient.

Author: Peter Robinson
Team Leadership Services