How can you be more effective in your professional life? For Susan Khan, faculty member at the School of Life, the answer lies in accepting that our tasks are more complex in reality than we often think they are.
Speaking of the conflict between the desire to complete things to a high standard and our need to complete necessary tasks, Khan said: “Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things.”
The School Of Life speaker argued that we often muddle our priorities by over complicating our activity, be it through attempting to multi-task, paralysis due to fears in our inabilities or by not having clearly defined goals. Taking a moment to clarify our intentions and giving ourselves the necessary time to think things through is invaluable.
This often leads to a clearer view of what our priorities should be. Using Dwight Eisenhower’s quote: “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important”, Khan posited the theory that we often delay the tasks that are most important to us, as we are often distracted by day-to-day interruptions; a phenomenon that has become more prevalent due to the ubiquity of modern technologies.
So how can this be combated? Taking time to truly know yourself, how you work and what your goals are, and then aligning them to the task you are undertaking. By accepting that in some cases efficiency is impossible in all facets of our lives, we can create habits that allow us time to achieve higher quality work in key pursuits.