Five Ways To Be More Effective In Everything You Do

A car and a canoe will both get me from A to B but which is more effective? The answer is that it depends upon my objective. If I want the fastest, most productive and efficient way of reaching my destination then get out the car, but if my objective is to have a tranquil, sociable, gentle break between two points the the canoe wins. To be effective we must first understand the overall objective.

Here are five ways to be more effective in everything you do:

1. Set Your Objective

If you don’t know your objective then you can’t be effective. Yes, you can be productive and / or efficient but you can only be effective if you have set your ultimate objective. That might be a personal objective or it might be the objective of your organisation, but the only way to tell if you have been effective or not is to ask yourself at the end of every day “has what I have done today moved me toward my ultimate objective?” An objective must be “semi SMART”. What I mean by this is that it must be Specific in that it must be clearly understood, Measurable in that it can be quantified at every stage, Achievable is more difficult. A true objective is likely to be very challenging but must ultimately be achievable. Silly objectives like being “the best” or “the biggest” fulfil neither of these and so must be avoided, but “to be the first person on Mars” may well be both challenging and achievable to some and unimaginable / unachievable to others. Don’t let people tell you “that’s not achievable” all they mean is that it’s not achievable for them. Objectives by their nature must Relevant. As you can only have one ultimate objective it would be pretty stupid to choose one that was not relevant. Finally Time-Bound. It is critical to have a date by which you want to achieve your objective. Unless you think you are the first person who will live forever then time is limited.

2. Set Goals

Goals are the markers on the way to the ultimate objective. Goals must always be SMART and must always move us toward our objective. It’s only worth achieving something if it moves us forward and we can only do that if we know the objective. An objective without goals is a dream, and in the real world dreams don’t come true, but goals and objectives can. Goals are the roadmap to achieve the objective and just like a roadmap can be amended and even changed as things progress to take into account changes in circumstances along the route to the objective. If the road is blocked the effective person finds a way round rather than just the most efficient way of getting through the traffic.

3. Prioritise

Effective people know that there is only ever one priority at a time. Often you hear the term “these are my priorities”. You can’t have priorities, only a priority, as the definition of the word is “the most important thing.” Effective people do the most important thing first and then move on down the list and no, nobody can multi-task. Multi-tasking just means doing lots of things inefficiently. The Ivy Lee method is a brilliant way of defining your priority and defining the order in which things should be done. Please have a look at this blog for more details IVY LEE HOW TO HAVE AN EFFECTIVE DAY

4. Use Effective Time Management Techniques

Effective people start by accepting that there are only so many hours in a day, week, month or year and there is nothing you can do about that. It is important to use those hours in the most effective way possible. Techniques that we have already discussed such as the Eisenhower Matrix, Pomodoro Technique and Time Blocking are all in the toolbox of the effective person. Please have a look at previous newsletters for more details.

5. Make Time To Assess & Adjust

This is one of the most important, and the one that is so often forgotten in a world where productivity and efficiency trumps effectiveness. It is probably the most difficult one of all, but it is something all effective people do. You must not fill every hour of every day, but instead allow “thinking time”. Somewhere between 15% and 25% of all your time should be dedicated to assessing where you are, where you are going and adjusting goals and roadmaps. People who aren’t effective create a plan and then plough ahead, maybe reviewing every once in a while. Effective assessments of the current and future situation, preferably daily but no less frequently than weekly are a sign of an effective person.

Finally – The Bonus Point

Concentrate on the effective things, eliminate anything that is not effective even if it is productive, profitable or efficient, and true success is on the horizon.

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