Are You Doing the Right Job?

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Something we need to consider as we go through life with long To Do lists - are we putting the right things on them? Are we doing the right job? I was driving in my car listening to a tape on time management and I heard one of the most profound statements I have ever heard. Mathew Parvis stated the difference between Effectiveness and Efficiency:

Efficiency is doing the job right. Effectiveness is doing the right job. Be effective first.

You may need to think this one through a bit. We often spend a lot of time doing something right when we shouldn't even be doing it at all. I remember during university, I was cleaning my bathroom very efficiently. I even found a contact lens that someone else had lost - before I moved in two years earlier. However, I had final exams the next day. I was not making effective use of my time. Effective use would have been to study.

Think about how often you spend a lot of time doing something well when you should be doing something else. Mothers often do this. "Oh, I just have to get the dishes done and then I will play." Or "I have to finish this and then we can go to the park." We get annoyed at our children for interrupting us doing a menial job, when the effective use of our time is likely to enjoy our children before they grow up. This doesn't mean we should live in a messy house but it does mean we need to ask ourselves this question every so often: "Am I being Effective first? Am I doing the right job?"

This question has really made a difference in my relationship with my children and my husband. I have made the decision to use my time as effectively as possible. Rather than always trying to get work done when they are around and want to be with me, I have made use of childcare and school to make sure to have effective time both for my work and for my family. When the kids are away, I work on my writing and presentations. When they are home I set aside time to play, go for walks or just be with them.

Of course, sometimes being effective is being able to multi-task. As a Mom I truly can't survive without this skill. I may cook supper while my children are doing homework or answer a few emails while they are watching TV. I also need to be aware of the times when I can't do this.

My husband and I try to find quality time alone together a few times a month. On our recent trip to Mexico, it was just amazing to be a couple again. We laughed, played and talked. Rather than finding ourselves talking family all the time, we were able to strengthen our relationship while laughing on a kayak. Being aware of the difference between the two has helped me to improve both the quality of my work and my relationships.

Here are some areas of our lives that benefit from making sure we are being effective and doing the right job:
Chores - When we do them and how much time we spend doing them. Do we need to vacuum everyday?
Family time - Are we really being together as a family? There is a difference between watching TV together and a family night.
Work - Can we focus on work so we can leave it there when we are done?
Relationships - We need to spend quality time with our family and friends.
Travel - Can we travel and leave work or our commitments behind?
Relaxing activities - Are we doing what we enjoy? Yes it is okay to watch our favorite TV shows, but do we need to watch hours of nothing? When we decide to relax, can we stop thinking about all that we have to do? (Moms, I know we are all guilty of this one!)

Now, when we are doing the right job, let's be efficient and make sure we do it well (not perfect!).

Provided the following credit is given, you are welcome to reprint this article for free.

"Excerpted from Mom Management, Managing Mom Before Everybody Else © 2003 Tracy Lyn Moland. Used with permission of The Gift of Time. All rights reserved. Order from "
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