Prioritisation: The difference between efficiency and effectiveness

The following quote is up on The Heretic today. It’s a great reminder:

Efficient people are well organized and competent. They check things off their to-do list. They complete projects. They get stuff done.

Effective people do all that, but they check the right things off their to-do list. They complete the right projects. They get the right stuff done.

I guess we all know this but great entrepreneurs always focus on the thing that moves the needle the most. No matter how hard or personally difficult, they take on that problem. Company needs profile: they take the stage. Distribution deal not working: they pound the streets looking for direct deals. Co-founder no longer pulling his weight: they have the difficult conversation. Biggest customer not profitable but investors don’t want to let go of the revenue: they take the hit. Burning too much cash: they act sooner rather than later.

Other entrepreneurs however, are clearly efficient but keep themselves insanely busy chasing the wrong opportunities of focusing on tangential tasks.

Prioritisation, then is the difference between efficiency and effectiveness. It’s important that from time to time we take stock and make sure we are spending our precious time on the right stuff.

  • Craig J Willis

    A colleague once said to me “smart people prioritise the things that need to be done tomorrow and forget about the things that should have been done yesterday”. I’m not sure if he came up with this or not but I remember it. The point he was making is similar, instead of fire fighting all the things that are going wrong now, try to focus on the things that will make a real difference in the long term.

  • Yes! Getting your head out of email and office issues to focus on the big stuff is definitely part of the battle.