If you’re working efficiently, that could be a bad thing, especially if you’re just starting a consulting business.
Working effectively is a much better approach. Do you know why?
If you work efficiently, you get a lot done.
If you work efficiently, you’ll have speedy ways of working. You’ll know the short cuts. You’ll know how to use the tools you’re working with, from the software package you’re working with to the tools you might have in your hands. All of that is good news.
Every one in business needs to work efficiently, but working efficiently isn’t enough. In the long run just working efficiently can be bad for business.
If efficiency is all about getting things done – lots of things done – effectiveness is about focusing on the right things, the things that matter, the things that will ultimately lead to business success.
You could be very efficient, but you could be working on the wrong things.
If you’re working effectively, you’ll be choosing the right things to spend your time on.
Effective working is about doing the things that will build your business in the long term. Efficient working is about working through all those tasks you know need doing on a day-to-day basis.
Why do people like to be efficient?
In business it’s easy to keep busy and to keep ticking things off the list of tasks. However, if you never actually stop to think if these are the right tasks, and the things that really need doing, then you could be using your time unwisely. You could be using your time ineffectively.
It’s an attractive option to get on with the e-mails and to work on all those queries that are in your inbox. You get a sense of achievement when you’ve dealt with them all. You know you have done some good work and you know your have worked hard. Maybe you have.
It’s more difficult to work on your business development strategy or on organising that vital update to your website that you know is needed.
Yet, these tasks are important.
You need to know where your business is going. You need to know what you’re trying to achieve so that you know where to apply your efforts.
You need to get the website updated, so that it draws the right people to your site.
If you are working effectively you will focus on these things before you deal with the day-to-day demands on your time.
How can you work more effectively?
It’s a good discipline to allocate at least some time every week to thinking about the overall development of your business.
Ask yourself the question:
What’s the most important thing I could do now to make my business a success?
Then, in most cases ask the supplementary question:
Why am I not doing it?
The answer is probably because you’ve chosen to work efficiently rather than effectively.
Therefore, shift the balance and make progress. You’ll see the difference quickly.
This is the sixteenth tip in a series of 100 Tips for people starting a consulting business.
See also: Use your time wisely.
Let me know in the comments how much of your time you spend working effectively each week.
Is it as much as you would like?