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  • March 30, 2023 4 min read

    We always see these two words thrown around, commonly alongside each other, but what do they really mean? Are they similar? Are they connected? And more importantly, what’s the difference between them? There are important questions because understanding what productivity and efficiency are can help us tackle any issues related to them. This means we can work on using them appropriately to make improvements on ourselves.


    Defining efficiency, productivity!

    In simple terms, productivity focuses on how much you can get done within a given timeframe. For example: you can be productive by completing many tasks, but it's worth noting that this doesn't necessarily equate to a high quality output. It's just how quickly you can churn out finished work.

    On the other hand, efficiency refers to how well you can accomplish a task with the least amount of wasted time, effort, or resources. Let's say you're able to complete your tasks much faster but still end up with a low quality output; you're not really being efficient in this case.

    It's a bit obvious that these terms are two very different things, but then, it's also undeniable: productivity and efficiency are closely related and they work hand in hand! This is because when you improve productivity, you can finish more work within the set time given to you. And when you improve efficiency, you can accomplish the same amount of work but in less time! This allows you to focus on what's important—the quality of your output!

    In today's post, we look at how we can improve and increase productivity and efficiency so we can do better when it comes to completing our tasks and projects.


    1. The age-old “quality over quantity” approach.

    It’s easy to look at just the numbers when we’re trying to be productive and efficient at the same time. Sure, they're important—especially when it comes to jobs that have quotas—but here's a more important thing to focus on: quality!

    When you have a high-quality output in mind from the get-go, even though it may take a bit of time to complete your tasks in the beginning, you can be sure your output is valuable and useful! Once you're used to what you're doing, the next step is figuring out out how to be more efficient. You can start by taking a look at the process you're following. Ask questions like .what are the unnecessary steps that you can skip or remove completely? What's helpful and what's not? What kinds of problems does the current process have and what solutions are available?

    Once you have answers to these, you can now make improvements and changes to your process! This helps you maintain the high standard you started with so you can work faster and become more productive.


    2. First thing’s first: prioritize!

    Another way to help ourselves increase productivity and efficiency is to identify which tasks are the most important! These should be our focus. Completing them first will allow us to use resources more efficiently. It also saves time.

    On top of that, prioritization can also give you an overview of which tasks can drive you closer towards your goals! This has the added benefit of keeping you motivated so you stay on track.

    Here are just some steps to prioritize your work! You can also check out this post for eight different productivity hacks you can try.


    3. Don’t multitask… ever!

    If you've been reading our blog for a while, then you know we're not fans of multitasking! It can mess not just with your efficiency but also the quality of your work. While switching from task to task can feel like you're getting more done, that's just not the case according to this Stanford study.

    The best way to do things is one at a time. Focus on one task and give it your full attention. Remember: quality over quantity. This will also eliminate the possibility of overwhelm and stress, which can have a negative effect on your productivity.

    So to sum this one up: if you're not distracted with multiple tasks, you can be efficient and stay efficient, producing quality work that meets your high standards. This then allows you to remain productive because you're able to finish your tasks on time without (or with less) mistakes.


    4. Already tracking your progress? Now review it!

    Tracking your tasks and your progress is one thing, but don't forget to look at how you're doing! Part of productivity and efficiency is making sure you know what's working for you so you can keep doing them. At the same time, you also want to identify any areas that need further improvements.

    Here are some things to consider: what are the tasks that you've completed? How much time did you spend on each one of them? Was the quality ok? Looking at these can show you patterns that can help you make the changes needed so you can stay efficient and productive.

    Plus, like we always say around here, a tracker allows you to celebrate small wins! You have a means to see if you're getting closer to your goals, which can encourage you to keep going.


    Productivity and efficiency provide a fine balance.

    By working on both productivity and efficiency, we can ensure we're always working with the best of both worlds in mind: we want to be able to finish as many tasks as we can without sacrificing the quality of our work, or better yet, how we work.

    What else can you do to be more productive and efficient? Has there been an instance where not taking one or the other into consideration affected your work? Share your story with us in the comments!

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