“Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things.” — Bill Reddin

I love this quotation. No one is really sure of the originator and the sentiment has been expressed in many ways by many individuals. For example, as first mentioned Peter Drucker expressed a corollary when he wrote that, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” He also related the premise to his management consulting practice when he said, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” More recently, Stephen Covey wrote that, “Efficient management without effective leadership is, as one individual has phrased it, ‘like straightening deck chairs on the Titanic’.”

Effectiveness means deciding what should be done, whereas efficiency means doing better that which is already being done. Although efficiency is certainly important in its role in identifying and minimizing wasted time and activity, effectiveness should receive your highest priority since its focus is on results rather than activity, and on objectives rather than procedures. It doesn’t matter how efficiently you do something that shouldn’t be done at all.

Motion without direction doesn’t accomplish much. Are you doing the right things? Do you know what those ‘right things’ are that you should be doing? It’s important to identify the important things, your priorities, then apply yourself as efficiently as possible in accomplishing them.


I’m currently finalizing an ebook with the working title “The 7 Maxims of Time Management” where I discuss the importance of prioritization, which is the cornerstone of effective time management. I’m working on a November release on Amazon and will post here when it’s available.

In the meantime, my ebook 52 of the Greatest Things Anyone Ever Said…and Why: Weekly Words of Wisdom and Inspiration just went live on Amazon. Right now, Amazon has ranked it as the #1 New Release in the category of Quotational Reference books. It currently has a #61 similar ranking in Motivational books.

This ebook includes 52 of my favorite quotations, each with a brief essay about what the quotation means. While the ebook can be read in its entirety and in any order, it is designed so that each quotation and essay is read weekly over the course of the coming year. The release is just in time for Christmas gifting. 😉

Here are the weekly topics from the ebook:

Week 1: Coping with adversity
Week 2: Self-pity
Week 3: The ‘good old days’ illusion
Week 4: Time indigestion
Week 5: Carpe diem
Week 6: Tapping your potential
Week 7: An ounce of prevention
Week 8: Procrastination
Week 9: Stereotyping
Week 10: Risk management
Week 11: Hidden wealth
Week 12: Communication
Week 13: Finding a job you love
Week 14: Making the most of a job you don’t love
Week 15: Distorting the truth
Week 16: Cherry picking data
Week 17: Balance
Week 18: Parenthood
Week 19: Efficiency vs. effectiveness
Week 20: Bigotry and hate
Week 21: Don’t sweat the small stuff
Week 22: War and peace and friends and foes
Week 23: Charity
Week 24: Don’t put off until tomorrow…
Week 25: Excellence
Week 26: Why time flies
Week 27: It’s the journey as well as the destination
Week 28: When right is wrong
Week 29: Measuring your wealth
Week 30: The rush to judgment
Week 31: Fear
Week 32: Responsibility
Week 33: Parents and teenagers
Week 34: Listening
Week 35: Three keys to happiness
Week 36: Conscience and the law of majority
Week 37: Perception vs. reality
Week 38: The foundation of society
Week 39: Excellence and doing what’s right
Week 40: Principle vs. preference
Week 41: Attitude
Week 42: Individuality
Week 43: Age and perspective
Week 44: Wealth and the greenness of grass
Week 45: Honesty
Week 46: Lying, a double-edged sword
Week 47: Priorities
Week 48: Honor
Week 49: Empathy
Week 50: Politics
Week 51: Three kinds of personal failure
Week 52: Happiness

As a bonus as valuable as the “52 Greatest’ ebook itself, purchasers of this ebook get a FREE PDF download of my book “QuoteNotes: The Ultimate Quotational Reference System and Authoring Tool for Professional Speakers and Writers” endorsed by Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy. This is an indexed and cross-referenced compilation of my 1,500 favorite quotes and includes a section on how to use quotations in your speaking and writing.


NOTE:  Due to some travel and project commitments, this might be my last blog post until later this month. In the meantime, why not read a good book? (hint, hint)


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Bill Wilson

Founder at InsuranceCommentary.com
One of the premier insurance educators in America on form, coverage, and technical issues; Founder and director of the Big “I” Virtual University; Retired Assoc. VP of Education and Research from Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. Reprint Request Information