Are You an Effective Manager - or Just An Efficient One?

Last Updated Apr 27, 2009 12:54 PM EDT

I just read a fantastic post today by Ali Hale on Dumb Little Man. She posed the question, "Are you effective or just efficient?" And it's a great distinction to think about.

As Hale writes,

"Being efficient means processing things fast. You get through your to-do list quickly and, in any given task, you eliminate time-wasters. Being effective means choosing to do the right things. You eliminate time-wasting activities or 'busy work' from your day."
I would venture to say that most of us can be pretty darn efficient when necessary. For example, I spent a good 20 minutes cleaning off my desk this morning, and now I have a nice, neat workspace.

But considering I'm dealing with major PC woes, have two pressing deadlines, and need to return three calls by 11 a.m., was that the best possible use of my time? Um, no.

Ali has some great tips on how to increase your effectiveness, including saying "no" more frequently (to prevent overcommitment to non-essential projects), clarifying and prioritizing your values, and figuring out shortcuts. I'll add one more: Face any tendencies to procrastinate head-on and just dive into that important yet oh-so-boring commitment.

Do you have any other suggestions for improving your effectiveness? Share them in the comments section.

(image by stephcarter via Flickr, CC 2.0)

  • CC Holland

    CC Holland is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a number of national magazines. Online, she was a columnist for and writes regularly for and BNET. On the other side of the journalism desk, she's been a managing editor for ZDNet, CNet, and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, where she earned an APTRA Best News Web Site award.