Stop Being Ineffective In Your Life and Get Things Done…

Are you looking to become more effective in your life – both professionally and personally? Do you find yourself wasting time on useless tasks? This lesson combats everyone’s need for efficiency by telling you what you do is much more important that how you do it. Using examples from Tim Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Workweek, I (Phil Svitek) showcase the differences between being efficient and being effective and how you too can accomplish more of what you want. The answers might not be what you expect, especially if you’re a millennial that’s been praised solely on the basis of your participation effort because in the real world, work and otherwise, participation isn’t the primary metric. Successfully completing tasks is the primary metric. I show you how to do just that. Check out the lesson and leave a comment with your thoughts on this episode as well as some time management tips you might have!

Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Workweek:

Article of Interest on Effectiveness vs Efficiency:

Christopher Robin Anatomy of a Movie:

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Today’s lesson will teach you to be more effective. Both personally and professionally. First, let me ask you a question. I promise there’s a point to it.

Imagine an assistant tasked with reaching out to someone to get an answer for an important question. The assistant first emails the person directly because he has that person’s contact info. But no answer comes. So then instead he calls that person’s office. Have they done their job?

Write your answer in the comment section below!

Got it?

If you said that it was a trick question, then you’re correct. The answer of whether or not the assistant did his job depends solely on if the call the person made allowed him to speak to the person he was reaching out to in the first place. That, AND if the assistant got the answer to the question needed.

I see this sort of thing happen a lot. And not just with assistants. An employee gets tasked with something, does it to “the best of his abilities” but comes back empty handed. In my experience, employees get scolded for this and wonder why. Wonder why? Really? Stop and think about it. The why is quite simple. They get scolded because they didn’t accomplish the tasks. Millennials especially have been praised solely on the basis of their participation effort. We receive participation awards. How nice for us. You might have heard it once, you might have heard it twice, but here it is again. In the real world, work and otherwise, participation isn’t the primary metric. Successfully completing tasks is the primary metric.

In his book, The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss writes that, “Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals. Efficiency is performing a given task (whether important or not) in the most economical manner possible. Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default of the universe.”

A door to door salesman nowadays may be efficient at selling magazines, but is it indeed the most effective way of going about selling the highest volume of magazines? Probably not. Then again, you can do something effectively and be inefficient. This often times ends up costing you or the company money and lots of time. Therefore the last part of Ferriss’ quote is key. In an ideal scenario you want to be both effective and efficient.

Here are the four quadrants available to us when we look at efficiency and effectiveness.

In the worst quadrant we’re both ineffective and inefficient. We’re not only pursuing the wrong goals, but we suck at going about them. It’s as if you were in a race but were walking at snail’s pace in the WRONG direction.

The next worst quadrant is being efficient at something without effectiveness. It’s #3 on the list because you’re not getting anything done. You’re pursuing the wrong goals.

The #2 quadrant is doing something effectively but not being as efficient about it. If you can’t do things as both effectively and efficiently as possible, then at least do them effectively with inefficiencies. This way you ensure the right tasks do indeed get done. The holy grail however is the best quadrant – it’s where you’re both effective AND efficient at tasks.

Here’s another scenario for you taken from Tim’s book. A person who checks emails 30 times a day and has an organized folder system isn’t as effective as someone who knocks out his or her emails fast and is able to get back to his or her work projects. Now this is not a license to be sloppy or disorganized. As mentioned, you should be effective and efficient. In this case the person who is able to respond to emails fast probably does have a system to ensure nothing is lost in the shuffle, whether now or in the future.

I feel like the reason why people and companies become ineffective is because goals are either too poorly defined or are lost in a sea of other metrics and goals. Ever hear the term KPI? It stands for key performance indicator. The metric above all else that showcases the health of a venture. Quite literally, the goal. Let me use sports as an analogy. Specifically soccer. This past World Cup in Russia, the previous two World Cup winners Spain and Germany absolutely dominated possession and passing percentages. Spain averaged close to 70% possession with a 91% passing completion rate. Germany had slightly less than Spain with 65% in possession and 89% in passing. On paper, two great stats in two great categories. But the only metric that truly matters in soccer is goals scored against your opponents. That’s where both Spain and Germany failed, while France succeeded. Congrats to France by the way for winning the tournament. I had an instinct about them and they didn’t disappoint.

Anyways, the point is that to be effective, which, like Tim Ferriss, I urge you to let that become your first goal in anything you do, you must define for yourself and others what it is that matters most. What is the thing above all things that will propel you or the business forward best? It can alter, and it should. No business should be overly rigid. But you should know it clearly. Be able to write it down or explain it to others. Because if you can’t, you don’t truly know it. What you do is much more important than how you do it.

This is actually a lesson Christopher Robin, who ironically is an efficiency expert for his company, learns from Winnie the Pooh in the latest Disney movie. I recommend you check it out because it’s a wonderfully magical film. If you want move of my thoughts on this movie, check out Anatomy of a Movie, another weekly series I host.

Now, I could go on and on with other examples. But I won’t.

Not kidding. However, we feel it’s best if you comment with some of your own scenarios. That way we can read and respond to see if you truly understand the difference. A quiz if you will. But a fun one because all of us get to participate and help each other out. So get to it.

I feel by this point you have a good grasp of what is effective and what is efficient. Remember, if push comes to shove, be effective with poor efficiency. But let’s talk about how to truly achieve the end goal – the goal of being both effective and efficient.

The best way I can explain it is through my own experience. In the early days of AfterBuzz TV, when podcasting was barely a hobby for people let alone an industry, we struggled to find ways of being effective. That’s not a knock on us. The methods to accomplish what we were aiming for simply didn’t exist. Keven Undergaro and I banged our heads day and night figuring out solutions. Little by little we solved what we needed and were able to do the things that once seemed like impossibilities or far away dreams. It was a miracle just to accomplish the things we did. We knew forwell how imperfect the early systems were. But they worked and that was reason enough to rejoice. And for a short while rejoice we did. But not for long. It’s not in Keven’s nature, and certainly not mine, to be idle while doing the same meticulous and often times monotonous routines when we knew it could be done better. We had this deep routed feeling it was possible somehow, someway. Nothing before indicated that it was indeed possible. We were told we were crazy. After all, what we were already was miles and miles beyond what anyone else had done at the time. And yet, as mentioned, we had a feeling there was a way to streamline it further. So we banged our heads some more. In the end though, we did what we set out to do. We upped our systems and protocols. A practice we continue to this day.

The lesson there is, start with becoming effective and then tinker until you become efficient with what you’re being effective towards. That is how you achieve the holy grail of the best quadrant. That is how you become effective AND efficient.

Moving forward, please be mindful of this fact. People default to ineffective efficiencies because they don’t ever stop and think about why they’re doing something. I don’t knock them. That can be tough. Who has time for this, especially at a job where you’re told by your superiors to do something? In fact, some bosses even despise it when you suggest something different. Luckily, that doesn’t happen here at AfterBuzz TV. However, there’s a story I heard about someone who did an internship. The interns at his company had to input data into a system. Scut work really. The person came up with a code that allowed the data to be input lightning fast. What would have taken an entire summer with a team of 10 interns to do could in essence be accomplished in two days. There was a problem though. The superiors said no. They said that’s not how we do it here. So the summer of 10 people was wasted that year.

I wish I had suggestions on how to really deal with those types of situations. The best I can offer is if you can, find another job that will value your passion towards improvement or if the timing isn’t right and you can’t afford to look for a job in that particular moment, then suck it up until you can switch.

Now, shall we make a pact to stop being ineffective and also to stop preaching efficiency for the sake of efficiency. Just because someone tries hard at something in no reason to heap praise upon them. If they get it done, then great. If they get it done in the best possible way then that’s truly cause for applause.

As a side note before I wrap out, part of the reason why I love what I do, here at AfterBuzz TV and with this podcast, is because podcasting has proven to be a very effective means of connecting and communicating with audiences. There’s a deeper bond. More than TV. More than radio. I sincerely thank you for tuning in.

So now, move forth and be the most effective and efficient person that you can be. To help you some more, here’s some quotes to inspire you.

“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.” – Stephen Covey

“It’s 5 P.M. at the office. Working fast, you’ve finished your tasks for the day and want to go home. But none of your colleagues have left yet, so you stay another hour or two, surfing the Web and reading your e-mails again, so you don’t come off as a slacker. It’s an unfortunate reality that efficiency often goes unrewarded in the workplace.” – Robert Pozen

“As a leader, you must consistently drive effective communication. Meetings must be deliberate and intentional – your organizational rhythm should value purpose over habit and effectiveness over efficiency.” – Chris Fussell

“Calm, open debate, and logical thought drive strength to its maximum effectiveness.” – Billy Corgan

“Teaching is hard. It takes a lot of skill. Not everyone who tries can do it well. We need to admit that and act accordingly. We should reward and respect great teachers by paying them more, and we should stop rewarding seniority over effectiveness.” – Betsy DeVos

Just a few final things before you start watching previous episodes of Phil’s. First, the transcript of this episode is in the description – that way you can review the lesson at your convenience. Also for your benefit, we’ve included a link to Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek. It’s an Amazon link that by clicking directly and using to buy the book, you’ll not only get a great book but you’ll have helped this podcast out. How is that? We’re partnered with Amazon whereby if you purchase through our links, we get a percentage of the sale. That’s at no increased cost to you. It’s a win-win. If you’d like to support this show even more, you can head on over to and leave a donation. Any amount is truly appreciated. And please be sure to leave any opinions or questions you may have so Phil or I can reply. We’re always excited to read what you share with us. If you enjoyed this video, then hit that like button and brag about what you learned to your friends and family. Maybe that way they finally start checking us out too. Subscribe on either Apple Podcast or YouTube to get new episodes automatically when they release. Lastly, if you’re a host or a college student seeking an internship and you’re in the LA area, feel free to apply to AfterBuzz TV via our contact page. A direct link is provided. Or, of course, you can Tweet @PhilSvitek or Instagram me @BonjourJuliet. Thanks for watching. I’m Juliet Vibert, a producer on the show and we’ll see you next time time where Phil teaches what negative visualization is and how it can benefit you. Bye.

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