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Daydreaming Makes You Successful: So What Are You Waiting for?

Daydreaming Makes You Successful: So What Are You Waiting for?

I’m not a dreamer, but I often imagine what my life would be like if I were. Although some people look at daydreamers as wasting their time, I see the world in a different way–dreaming is an important step when it comes to succeeding, and, when backed by quantifiable effort, following your dreams is the only way to find true fulfillment in life. If you’re bored at work and need something to focus on so you don’t fall asleep, here are some ways daydreaming makes you successful.

Daydreaming Makes You More Productive

According to Psychology Today, thinking outside the box is an important step in problem-solving. While daydreaming seems like waste of time, it’s actually pulling your conscious thoughts into other perspectives. Brainstorming can quickly lead to tunnel vision if you do it on a regular basis; you may be daydreaming about living on a tropical island, but in doing so you’ll return to reality with a fresh perspective on your current problem. The 5-10 minutes you spend daydreaming are much more efficient than the 30 minutes you’ll likely spend pulling your hair out trying to resolve that difficult problem you’ve been working on.

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Daydreaming Makes You Smarter

It’s easy to pigeonhole daydreamers as a kid dreamily staring out the window during class, ignoring what the teacher is saying. I was that kid, and here’s why I was daydreaming: my homework was already done, I already firmly grasped the concept being taught, along with all the corresponding formulas, and methods–what I was daydreaming about was the real-world applications of all the theories being discussed in class. It’s not just me; government studies by the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health show that daydreaming combines your executive network (regions of your brain dedicated to problem solving) with your default network (regions of your brain associated with higher-level activity) to improve your critical thinking.

The idea is this:

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Would my time have been better spent listening to a teacher continue to drill the points in for the kids who needed more time to learn (thus slowing me down and wasting my time)? Or was it better spent considering the many ways to incorporate the knowledge into my life and take me from point A to point B? Think of it as listening to an album over and over versus listening to a wide variety of music; I’m happy the teacher likes Garrison Keillor so much, but I don’t need to know every happening in Lake Wobegon to understand Americana from the time period.

Daydreaming Increases Both Confidence and Insight

Perfect practice makes perfect, and imagining a scenario in your head allows you to practice how you would react in a variety of scenarios. Sure, you’re not likely to gain superpowers or a billion dollars simply by imagining it, and those imaginary resources won’t be available to you in the real world, but you’ll get a general idea of how you’d behave in certain situations. If that idea doesn’t provide you with the confidence you need, at the very least, it’ll facilitate personal insight. It also helps to visualize yourself in someone else’s shoes, a form of daydreaming often advocated as a method to resolve misunderstandings.

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Daydreaming Inspires Happiness

Not only are your daydreams responsible for motivating you to work toward a goal (that’s pretty much the point of daydreaming), but they keep you content and satisfied while you work toward them. Sitting in a cubicle is boring. Everything is drab in an office building, and, depending on where you work, there’s a good chance daydreaming is the most exciting part of your day. There’s nothing wrong with that. You’re the person who’s stuck with you 24/7‒making yourself happy is much more important than pleasing anyone else.

As you can see, daydreaming is not only not a waste of time, but it can actually be more useful than working. Like everything else in life, though, moderation is key, and acting on your dreams will always get you further than simply sitting idle and passively enjoying them. So take a cue from the Internet and get your head in the clouds, and daydream, FTW!

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Last Updated on September 30, 2020

Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

When it comes to being effective vs efficient, there are a lot of similarities, and because of this, they’re often misused and misinterpreted, both in daily use and application.

Every business should look for new ways to improve employee effectiveness and efficiency to save time and energy in the long term. Just because a company or employee has one, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that the other is equally present.

Utilizing both an effective and efficient methodology in nearly any capacity of work and life will yield high levels of productivity, while a lack of it will lead to a lack of positive results.

Before we discuss the various nuances between the word effective and efficient and how they factor into productivity, let’s break things down with a definition of their terms.

Effective vs Efficient

Effective is defined as “producing a decided, decisive, or desired effect.” Meanwhile, the word “efficient ” is defined as “capable of producing desired results with little or no waste (as of time or materials).”[1]

A rather simple way of explaining the differences between the two would be to consider a light bulb. Say that your porch light burned out and you decided that you wanted to replace the incandescent light bulb outside with an LED one. Either light bulb would be effective in accomplishing the goal of providing you with light at night, but the LED one would use less energy and therefore be the more efficient choice.

Now, if you incorrectly set a timer for the light, and it was turned on throughout the entire day, then you would be wasting energy. While the bulb is still performing the task of creating light in an efficient manner, it’s on during the wrong time of day and therefore not effective.

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The effective way is focused on accomplishing the goal, while the efficient method is focused on the best way of accomplishing the goal.

Whether we’re talking about a method, employee, or business, the subject in question can be either effective or efficient, or, in rare instances, they can be both.

When it comes to effective vs efficient, the goal of achieving maximum productivity is going to be a combination where the subject is effective and as efficient as possible in doing so.

Effectiveness in Success and Productivity

Being effective vs efficient is all about doing something that brings about the desired intent or effect[2]. If a pest control company is hired to rid a building’s infestation, and they employ “method A” and successfully completed the job, they’ve been effective at achieving the task.

The task was performed correctly, to the extent that the pest control company did what they were hired to do. As for how efficient “method A” was in completing the task, that’s another story.

If the pest control company took longer than expected to complete the job and used more resources than needed, then their efficiency in completing the task wasn’t particularly good. The client may feel that even though the job was completed, the value in the service wasn’t up to par.

When assessing the effectiveness of any business strategy, it’s wise to ask certain questions before moving forward:

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  • Has a target solution to the problem been identified?
  • What is the ideal response time for achieving the goal?
  • Does the cost balance out with the benefit?

Looking at these questions, a leader should ask to what extent a method, tool, or resource meets the above criteria and achieve the desired effect. If the subject in question doesn’t hit any of these marks, then productivity will likely suffer.

Efficiency in Success and Productivity

Efficiency is going to account for the resources and materials used in relation to the value of achieving the desired effect. Money, people, inventory, and (perhaps most importantly) time, all factor into the equation.

When it comes to being effective vs efficient, efficiency can be measured in numerous ways[3]. In general, the business that uses fewer materials or that is able to save time is going to be more efficient and have an advantage over the competition. This is assuming that they’re also effective, of course.

Consider a sales team for example. Let’s say that a company’s sales team is tasked with making 100 calls a week and that the members of that team are hitting their goal each week without any struggle.

The members on the sales team are effective in hitting their goal. However, the question of efficiency comes into play when management looks at how many of those calls turn into solid connections and closed deals.

If less than 10 percent of those calls generate a connection, the productivity is relatively low because the efficiency is not adequately balancing out with the effect. Management can either keep the same strategy or take a new approach.

Perhaps they break up their sales team with certain members handling different parts of the sales process, or they explore a better way of connecting with their customers through a communications company.

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The goal is ultimately going to be finding the right balance, where they’re being efficient with the resources they have to maximize their sales goals without stretching themselves too thin. Finding this balance is often easier said than done, but it’s incredibly important for any business that is going to thrive.

Combining Efficiency and Effectiveness to Maximize Productivity

Being effective vs efficient works best if both are pulled together for the best results.

If a business is ineffective in accomplishing its overall goal, and the customer doesn’t feel that the service is equated with the cost, then efficiency becomes largely irrelevant. The business may be speedy and use minimal resources, but they struggle to be effective. This may put them at risk of going under.

It’s for this reason that it’s best to shoot for being effective first, and then work on bringing efficiency into practice.

Improving productivity starts with taking the initiative to look at how effective a company, employee, or method is through performance reviews. Leaders should make a point to regularly examine performance at all levels on a whole, and take into account the results that are being generated.

Businesses and employees often succumb to inefficiency because they don’t look for a better way, or they lack the proper tools to be effective in the most efficient manner possible.

Similar to improving a manager or employee’s level of effectiveness, regularly measuring the resources needed to obtain the desired effect will ensure that efficiency is being accounted for. This involves everything from keeping track of inventory and expenses, to how communication is handled within an organization.

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By putting in place a baseline value for key metrics and checking them once changes have been made, a company will have a much better idea of the results they’re generating.

It’s no doubt a step-by-step process. By making concentrated efforts, weakness can be identified and rectified sooner rather than later when the damage is already done.

Bottom Line

Understanding the differences between being effective vs efficient is key when it comes to maximizing productivity. It’s simply working smart so that the intended results are achieved in the best way possible. Finding the optimal balance should be the ultimate goal for employees and businesses:

  • Take the steps that result in meeting the solution.
  • Review the process and figure out how to do it better.
  • Repeat the process with what has been learned in a more efficient manner.

And just like that, effective and efficient productivity is maximized.

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Featured photo credit: Tim van der Kuip via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: effective and efficient
[2] Mind Tools: Being Effective at Work
[3] Inc.: 8 Things Really Efficient People Do

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