Effectiveness is doing things that move you closer to your goals. Efficiency is doing things (whether effective or not) economically.
Efficiency without regard for effectiveness is the default mode of humans, which is why we park our cars close to the gym, only to go inside and walk on a treadmill for 45 minutes.
Technology and automation make it possible to easily apply efficiency to tasks that don’t matter. To counter this, focus on processes and tasks that are worth doing because they move you towards your goals, and only then work to make them more efficient.
An Olympic gold medal winning crew team had a coach that challenged the athletes to a simple but powerful litmus test for every decision they made during training season.
Ask the question: Will this make the boat go faster? Should I stay out late tonight? Eat this doughnut? Skip my next workout? It doesn’t take a high IQ to derive the answer to a question that precise.
What life goal is meaningful enough to you that you can create your own version of this question?
Being an intellectually curious obsessive nutcase when it comes to human performance, I consume a lot of new information. The high cost of task-switching between deep work and consumption makes it a bad idea to consume info haphazardly. Here’s what I do instead:
– Automatically or manually move content to the pocket app
– Consume blogs, articles, podcasts, etc. during a scheduled “reading list” appointments I make throughout the week
Without rules and systems for important things, bad habits form – or at the very least, good ones don’t. Batching and scheduling tasks rather than waiting until I “have time” has proven useful.