The Time Queen

Time management expert Robyn Pearce looks at how to get the most out of life.

Robyn Pearce: Is efficiency the best measure of effectiveness?

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Most people measure productivity by crossing off items on a 'to do' list. Photo / Thinkstock
Most people measure productivity by crossing off items on a 'to do' list. Photo / Thinkstock

We all have lives filled with daily tasks, workflows and errands. The way most people measure productivity is by crossing off items from the reliable "to-do" list. After being accustomed to doing the same things over and over again, efficiency starts to kick in. This stage is very fulfilling, yet often short-lived because, for many of us, new tasks and projects come bouncing in on a regular basis.

With new goals and objectives, the old way of getting things done simply won't do. We cease to be effective, for it takes time to build new skills. As a result, we often find ourselves just coping, instead of enjoying that previous feeling of achievement.

New goals call for new methods

Routine is not a bad thing. It can help develop perseverance, and get the ball rolling towards long-term goals. But what happens when you have to add new elements to your already busy schedule? Most individuals will accept new tasks without thinking about how it will affect their lives.

Sometimes, making time for a new project or assignment isn't enough. You may need to consider other factors such as commitment (how much time are you willing to spend on a specific task?), and re-arrangement of your schedule (can an errand be done later in the day to make room for new responsibilities?).

What it boils down to is priorities. When new things that are more important come your way, you have to think about how you will reallocate your attention, effort and time. Even small new commitments can leave a dent in your schedule if not handled properly.
What are signs of ineffectiveness?

• Decrease in output
• Increase in stress levels
• Compensation for loss of time
• Lack of goals (too much focus on small tasks)

Take a step back and make adjustments

One of the best ways to stay effective is to take a step back and ask yourself: 'What is the most important thing today?'

It is easy to get caught up in a long list of repetitive tasks. Routines turn into habits, which can be difficult to break. When things change around the office, such as new systems, layouts or schedules, failing to make adjustments results in inefficiency and frustration. Try to take the time to balance the scale by focusing on how to do things more effectively. You might find that some old methods and techniques need to be updated.

This is the first step in how to be more effective. It is always important to remember that there is more than one way to get things done. If your old method of doing things isn't working out anymore, don't hesitate to try something new.


Robyn Pearce (known as the Time Queen) runs an international time management and productivity business, based in New Zealand. Get your free report 'How To Master Time In Only 90 Seconds' and ongoing time tips at gettingagrip.com.

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