What Is Efficiency?

Efficiency and effectiveness are something we all know to aspire to, but have you ever stopped to think what the word "efficiency" really means? Or better yet, what does an efficient process look like?

If you've read my earlier posts on recharging, you know that I read and walk to recharge. I somehow managed to pull something in my right upper hamstring so walking has been a bit painful the last few days. And even as it's improved and I've forced myself to take walks, albeit more slowly and painfully, it's still been less efficient. 

After using "inefficient" to explain why the walk took more out of me, it got me thinking. Walking efficiently means that everything is in alignment and walking is the effortless motion it should be. It generally does not take a lot of effort for me to maintain a fast pace and pass most people since I've been speed walking for years. And since my muscles and body are generally so efficient at this, I can let my mind wander. That is why walking usually recharges me like few other activities will.

So if you extrapolate the above to a process or system at work, what would make it efficient? Basically, it would have to make sense, have seamless handoffs, not require much thought or work to get it to work, and free up time or mental bandwidth to take care of other activities. At the end of the day, efficiency has to make something work more smoothly, faster, or better to be truly "efficient."

Is that how you define efficiency? Do you have efficient processes?

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