5 Ways to Shift From Productive to Effective

One area I work with coaching clients is managing their energy. One part of that is looking at personal effectiveness and self-management. Inevitably within that conversation is a discussion around the difference between being productive and being effective.

In this post, I will be discussing –

  • What is Productive or Productiveness?
  • What is Effectiveness?
  • What is Personal Effectiveness?
  • What’s the Difference Between Productiveness and Effectiveness?
  • 5 Ways to Shift from Productive to Effective.

Let’s get started…


What is Productive or Productiveness?

Before identifying what productive is for you, let’s have a look at the definitions of productive –

  • “producing or able to produce large amounts of goods, crops, or other commodities.” ~ Google
  • “having the quality or power of producing especially in abundance” ~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  • “having the power of producing; generative; creative” ~ Dictionary.com
  • “resulting in or providing a large amount or supply of something” ~ Cambridge Dictionary
  • “Production of desired results.” ~ Stephen Covey

What does productive mean to you? Is there anything you would add?


What is Effectiveness?

Some definitions of effectiveness include –

  • “the degree to which something is successful in producing a desired result; success.” ~ Google and Oxford Living Dictionaries
  • “the ability to be successful and produce the intended results” ~ Cambridge Dictionary
  • “adequate to accomplish a purpose; producing the intended or expected result” ~ Dictionary.com
  • Stephen Covey links Aesop’s fable to his definition of effectiveness – “…true effectiveness is the function of two things: what is produced (the golden eggs) and the producing asset or capacity to produce (the goose)” (p.752).

What other points would you add about effectiveness?


What is Personal Effectiveness?

Now that we have identified what effectiveness is, let’s discuss personal effectiveness.

Personal effectiveness means making use of all the resources (both personal and professional) you have at your disposal (i.e. your talents, strengths, skills, energy and time) to enable you to master your life and achieve both your work and life goals.

How you manage yourself (i.e self-management) impacts on your personal effectiveness. According to CASEL, self management is “…the ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviours effectively in different situations.” This includes –


So, What’s the Difference Between Productive and Effective?

The difference between productive and effective can be summed up by –

  • Being effective is about doing the right things, while being productive is about doing things right.

As Peter Drucker says ~ “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”


5 Ways to Shift from Productive to Effective

So now you know the difference between being productive and being effective, would you agree that being effective is where you want to go? If so, the following 5 ways to shift from productive to effective might help!

Some ways to increase your personal effectiveness include –

  1. identifying what you really wantgiving yourself permission to follow your dreams and looking at any distorted thinking around your wants/dreams,
  2. identifying your values and reflecting if you are currently living in alignment with them,
  3. identifying where your time is going and seeing if that is linking in with your values (we have a simple time audit here),
  4. identifying your priorities in life and putting first things first, and
  5. asking for feedback from people who you trust and feel comfortable with (i.e. a coach or mentor) as we don’t know what we don’t know.


I hope this post has helped you discover the difference between productive and effective and 5 ways to shift from productive to effective!


Feel free to share in the comments below or on our Facebook page, any questions or comments you might have.

If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit?


Reference –

Covey, S. (1989). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. New York, USA: Simon & Schuster.


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