Ideas for expending the least amount of energy for the largest return

By Anne Bachrach

A.M. Enterprises (The Accountability Coach)

Ask any successful business owner or financial professional and they will tell you one of the most important steps to optimizing the success of a business is producing effective results with the greatest efficiency. As a financial professional, it is probably your goal to be as effective as you can with the greatest efficiency. The more you can optimize these two factors, the greater return on investment you will realize in your business.

So how do you improve your career or business by improving effectiveness and efficiency? Let's begin by reviewing the difference between the two terms:

Effective -- Producing a decided, decisive, or desired effect. Effective emphasizes the actual production of or the power to produce an effect or result.

Efficient -- Acting or a potential for action or use in such a way as to avoid loss or waste of energy in effecting, producing, or functioning.

Effectiveness is the building block, while efficiency is the process of refinement. The better you become at effecting positive results with the greatest efficiency of effort, the bigger asset you become -- and the same is true of your business.

Optimizing effectiveness and efficiency doesn't have any relation to IQ or intelligence levels, it's really an awareness of your habits. It's a delicate balance between effecting positive results with the least amount of energy expenditure. This essentially means that you expend the least amount of energy with the largest return, while effectively creating the desired result.

Optimizing your effectiveness and efficiency is vital to your success, and both your personal and professional lives depend on it.

Let's start by discussing improving effectiveness. What does this actually mean? In the most basic terms, you must first learn how to create positive effects, change, or results; though by definition you could be effective at producing negative effects. However, our focus is on becoming proficient at producing positive effects. The better you become at effectively creating desired results, the better your personal and professional lives become.

So, how do you know if you are being effective? The first step is to ask yourself what kind of actions you are taking. If the goal is to produce a desired result, every step between the initial action and completed action needs to be in support of the desired result.

Recall a situation or project that produced a less than optimal result. If you go back through the series of actions that led to the result, can you pinpoint what might have triggered the shift from the direction of positive results to non-effective results? When the "trigger" can be identified, you can learn from that experience and be more effective in future situations by changing or avoiding the action that created the negative result. Being effective is nothing more than a series of evaluations of past results to identify and separate the successful actions from the negative actions.

This evaluation process not only applies to your professional life, it applies to your personal life, as well. Your career or your business is only as good as you are, which is why self-improvement is a vital part of your professional success. If you cannot learn to effect positive results, the success of your business will be limited. For optimal success, a dedication to improving effectiveness in your personal life is important.

Now let's discuss efficiency. Effectiveness is the building block and efficiency is the process of refinement. Think of it as a sort of horse and carriage. Improving efficiency isn't possible until you actually learn how to affect results. While it is possible to be effective without being efficient, only having one of the two strengths is like missing the other piece to the puzzle. To truly be a force to be reckoned with and to grow your financial practice, you must be able to effect positive results with the greatest efficiency.

We all have the same number of hours in a day to complete our tasks, so you must learn to produce desired results with the least amount of energy lost. In order to make more time and become better at what we do, we must learn to improve our effectiveness and efficiency.

Although many people resist it in the beginning, calendaring is a great tool for improving effectiveness and efficiency. When you put everything in your calendar and honor it, you'll find your focus improves because you have daily tasks staring right back at you in black and white. Schedule everything in your calendar, including showers, drive time, calls, marketing time, client interviews, lunch, and workouts. For every task add a 15 minute buffer until you get better at estimating how much time each activity takes. This buffer will serve to add to your peace of mind if unexpected delays come up. If you are actually running ahead of schedule, then you can get a head start on the next task and actually complete more in less time. Effective time management and calendaring will make you more productive, and you will feel more confident and in control, so that you can more easily achieve your goals.

Begin working on increasing your effectiveness and efficiency today and enjoy the benefits you receive as a result. You'll find that you will accomplish more in less time and feel great about your progress every day.

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