hand holding a model airplane and other hand holding a paper airplane productivity vs. efficiency

Productivity Vs Efficiency: 5 Subtle Differences to Know

What is the difference between productivity vs efficiency? Let’s look at an example.

You start your work day early in the morning, cleaning up your email inbox, replying to all emails, switching to your LinkedIn, operational tasks, some rapid things that popped up, and checking your accounts—overall, a long working day packed with meaningful assignments.

Was it productive? It surely was. Was it efficient? There might be options.

Efficiency is the ability to use resources effectively and produce output at a high rate. In other words, it’s about using fewer resources to get the same or better results.

Yet, in many cases, organizations sacrifice efficiency for productivity by focusing on getting things done quickly rather than doing them right.

Does that sound confusing? Let’s break it down and see the difference between productivity and efficiency.

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Here's what we'll cover: Click to Hide TOC

What is Productivity?

a man with a child in his arms working in a computer with a woman in the kitchen in the backgroundProductivity focuses on how much you can achieve in a given period. It also measures how much value you create as an individual or team.

You can calculate productivity as the ratio of outputs to inputs, such as the number of tasks completed per hour or the amount of work accomplished divided by the time spent working. 

But how to define if you are productive and improve your productivity if you’re not? To change something, you need to know the current state. That’s why measuring productivity is essential.

How to Measure Productivity

word results is spelled out in scrabble pieces for productivity vs efficiencyLet’s say you send 64 emails per working day that lasts 8 hours. To measure your productivity, you can use the productivity formula: divide output (64 emails) by input (8 hours). It shows that your productivity score is eight emails per hour. 

Depending on your goals, this formula can help you understand if the result is satisfactory. If not, you can change your workflow to improve the current situation. For the example above, you can use FlyMSG, our digital writing assistant, to store and use your best-performing emails and skyrocket the speed of your email communication!

You can also calculate productivity on the organizational or team level. 

For example, your sales team contacts 240 prospects each day. That means their productivity score is 30 (240/8) reached prospects per hour. To show increased productivity, your sales team needs to get at least 300 new leads in the same time frame.

How does productivity influence the work process?

4 Helpful Productivity Stats

Let’s explore some stats to understand common productivity challenges.4 helpful productivity stats

  1. 86% of executives agree that ineffective communication causes productivity-related issues. (Clockify)
  2. Refocusing on a task after a distraction takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds. (Zippia)
  3. 85% of employees unproductively spend up to two hours searching for work-related information. (TeamStage)
  4. The average office worker is only productive for two hours and 23 minutes daily. (Apollo Technical)

So, now that you know what productivity is, how to measure your productivity rate and how it affects your results, let’s discuss when to focus on improving productivity.

When to Focus on Productivity

There are a few critical situations when it’s essential to focus on productivity:

  • When you’re working on a tight deadline 
  • When you’re struggling to get started on a project 
  • When you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed by your workload
  • When you need to get organized to complete more work
  • When you’re trying to accomplish a lot in a short time 
  • When you need to get something done quickly

By remaining focused and productive during these times, you’ll be able to get the job done more effectively.

Now let’s discuss what efficiency is.

What is Efficiency?

a stamp that reads high quality with a thumbs up productivity vs efficiencyEfficiency focuses on the quality of output, for example, the quality of emails or messages you send to your customers, clients, or partners.

Let’s get back to our example: you usually send 64 emails per 8 working hours. You can say that your productivity increased if you successfully wrote 80 emails in 8 hours. However, those emails can have poor brand consistency and tonal uniformity, as you got more work to complete in the same time frame.

If you successfully send 80 emails during 8 working hours with the highest quality output, you have improved efficiency in the same time frame.

Let’s see what stats show us about efficiency.

3 Interesting Efficiency Stats

3 interesting efficiency stats

Let’s explore some interesting stats to help you understand the importance of efficiency.

  1. Up to 30% of revenue is lost yearly due to inefficiency. (Entrepreneur)
  2. Ineffective company communication stresses out 80% of US employees. (Stress)
  3. The average worker is productive for 60% or less each day in all career fields. For office workers, however, that percentage drops drastically. (Apollo Technical)

Let’s see how to calculate efficiency.

How to Measure Efficiency

Measuring efficiency occurs when you divide the expected work hours by actual hours worked on a task and then multiply by 100%. Let’s say you finish writing 64 emails in 6 hours instead of the expected 8 hours. 

8/6 x 100% = 1,33 x 100% = 133% efficiency

A higher than 100% ratio indicates you need less time (fewer resources) than expected to finish the job.

If you are expected to do the work in 6 hours and do it in 8, your efficiency will be 75%, which means you need more time than expected. Calculating efficiency is crucial as it helps you see if you optimally utilize all available resources to get the job done.

Let’s discuss what you can do to improve your results.

When to Focus on Efficiency

the word target spelled out with sticks surrounding itIf you are not optimally using resources such as time, raw materials, budget, staff, or similar, you should make changes to keep things running smoothly.

While there are many ways to increase efficiency, some of the most effective include:

  • Implementing lean principles into your organizational culture
  • Identifying waste in your processes and systems
  • Hiring and training employees
  • Automating repetitive tasks
  • Reducing unnecessary meetings

When it comes to improving efficiency, you should always keep a few key things in mind: start small, be consistent, and measure success.

Productivity vs Efficiency: How They Relate

Contrary to popular belief, productivity and efficiency are not the same. Productivity measures how much output you produce in an hour or day, while efficiency measures how much value you create in that period. 

For example, let’s say you’re a salesperson. You might send 100 sales emails in a day, but if none of those emails result in a sale, you’ve been productive but inefficient. On the other hand, you might send ten sales emails in a day and close five deals, meaning you’re efficient. 

The key to success is finding the right balance between productivity and efficiency. You need to be productive enough to get the work done, but you also need to be efficient enough to create value for your company.

Productivity vs Efficiency: Which Matters More

man sitting in front of laptop with hand on chin thinking about which matters more between productivity vs efficiency

In a business, both productivity and efficiency are significant. A business must be productive to make money and efficiently use resources to keep costs low.

So, which matters more? The answer is that they both matter equally. They are two sides of the same coin. One cannot exist without the other.

A business must be both productive and efficient to be successful. If a business is only productive, it will not increase its profit. If a company is only efficient, it will not be able to sustain itself in the long run.

Let’s discuss why you need both productivity and efficiency.

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Productivity vs Efficiency: Why You Need Both

Productivity and efficiency are both important, and balancing them is essential. If you’re highly productive but inefficient, you’ll be able to produce more output in a shorter time, but that doesn’t mean that your work will be good quality.

If you’re highly efficient but not productive, you’ll be able to produce high-quality work quickly, but it won’t take long before your backlog of unfinished tasks catches up with you.

The key is to figure out how to improve productivity while maintaining efficiency. It could involve automating repetitive tasks to focus on high-value activities and get through assignments faster without sacrificing quality.

Productivity vs Efficiency: 5 Key Differences

It is complex to grasp the key differences between these two terms. Let’s tackle the five main differences between productivity and efficiency and why it matters for your company.

line drawing of a flag at the top of a mountain peak1. Productivity is Goal-Oriented. Efficiency is Process-Oriented.

The goal of productivity is to achieve a specific outcome. To be productive, you must have a plan and work towards executing that plan. Efficiency, on the other hand, is focused on the process. Being efficient means finding the best way to complete a task and get the most out of your efforts.

line drawing of a calculator at the start of a bar graph increasing in size2. Productivity is a Long-Term Goal. Efficiency is a Short-Term Goal.

Productivity planning is about working towards a long-term goal. It is about taking the time to do things right, so you don’t have to waste time later fixing mistakes. Efficiency is about working towards a short-term goal. It is about getting things done quickly to move on to the next task.

line drawing of a stack of cylinders 3. Productivity is About Quantity. Efficiency is About Quality.

Productivity is about quantity. It’s about how much you can get done in a day, an hour, or a week. It’s about output.

Efficiency, on the other hand, is about quality. It’s about doing things the right way the first time around. It’s about minimizing waste and maximizing results.

You can be productive without being efficient, but you can’t be efficient without being productive. Productivity is the engine that drives efficiency.

line drawing of a lightbulb with a check mark inside of it4. Productivity is Working Harder. Efficiency is Working Smarter.

Being productive means putting in the hours and getting the job done, no matter what. Efficiency, on the other hand, is about working smarter. It’s about doing things effectively, whether taking shortcuts or finding creative solutions.

So, next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list, take a step back and ask yourself: am I being productive or efficient? If you can’t answer that question, it’s time to reevaluate your priorities.

line drawing of a cog moving clockwise5. Productivity Automates Processes. Efficiency Streamlines Processes.

Automation is a crucial driver of productivity. Automation enables you to complete tasks faster, delivering higher output levels in a shorter time frame. It helps you increase efficiency and reduce costs. 

By automating processes, you can reduce the time to perform the same amount of tasks. You can focus on other aspects of your job by doing less repetitive work. You can also focus on more strategic activities like sales and marketing.

For optimal results, you can use business productivity tools that help you complete more work in less time. One such solution is FlyMSG, our text expander, which enables you to increase productivity and efficiency and save 20 hours per month. Let’s explain how it works.

How FlyMSG Boosts Both Productivity and Efficiency

FlyMSG logo over yellow

FlyMSG is an award-winning speed writing tool developed by Vengreso.

It is the first choice of busy professionals who communicate with customers, clients, partners, or employees throughout the day and lose valuable time on written communication. 

It helps business owners, HR professionals, sales representatives, recruiters, customer service, and support representatives become more productive and efficient during their workday by helping them type less, do more, and save one hour daily to allocate to other assignments.

FlyMSG Automates the Writing Processadd a new flycut shortcut FlyMSG writing assistant and text expander example shortcut

Thanks to automation, FlyMSG allows you to generate high-quality content quickly and efficiently. You can write more emails and messages quickly and ensure they are consistent and error-free due to the integration with Grammarly.

It further improves the quality of your output, helps you focus on more significant assignments, and reduce repetitive tasks that spend your time and energy throughout the day.

FlyMSG Lets You Store Your Content in the Cloud

FlyMSG anywhere online writing assistant productivity tool

Instead of losing time searching your inbox, Google Docs, or Word files and copying and pasting your sent messages, you can safely store them in the cloud, access the cloud anywhere and anytime, and use your best-performing content whenever you need it with just a few shortcodes.

FlyMSG Helps You Type Less and Do More

FlyMSG consists of FlyCuts and FlyPlates that help you streamline personal productivity, communicate more effectively and increase engagement with clients, customers, partners, or employees while maintaining brand consistency and tonal uniformity. Let’s discuss each.

What are FlyCuts?

FlyMSG FlyCuts Shortcuts screen shot

FlyMSG works as a text expander. It allows you to save frequently-used messages under shortcodes or FlyCuts and store them in a cloud. 

When writing online, you can type in these shortcodes and watch how they automatically expand into full-text strings. Thanks to the integration with Grammarly, FlyMSG improves various aspects of the writing process, such as grammar, style, and spelling.

You have a rich text editor at your disposal, so you can craft, format, and edit your messages in any way you like and include photos, videos, emojis, GIFs, or links to make your messages more attractive.

What are FlyPlates?

FlyMSG FlyPlates Templates writing assistant productivity text expander autofill toolFlyPlates are premium content templates created by industry professionals for any use case you can think of. Our rich template library currently includes over 200 templates you can choose, adjust according to your needs and use in your emails or messages in seconds.

FlyPlates help you stay organized and focused and make it easier to reuse or repurpose content in the future. It means you don’t have to recreate the same content repeatedly, saving you much time in the long run.

They also help ensure that your content meets your company’s required standards or guidelines.

FlyMSG Has Numerous Use Cases for Any Professional

Whether you work in HR, marketing, finance, recruiting, sales, or customer service, you will find suitable FlyPlates in our library. You can evaluate all these templates by creating your free account. Let’s share some examples.

Cannot Attend a Meeting for All ProfessionalsFlyMSG FlyPlate template Cannot Attend a Meeting for All Professionals

Requesting Customer Feedback for Customer Service Repsflymsg flyplate template message Requesting Customer Feedback for Customer Service Reps

Placing an Order for the Finance DepartmentFlyMSG FlyPlate Template example Requesting Customer Feedback for Customer Service Reps message

Offer Letter for HR ProfessionalsFlyMSG Template FlyPlate message

Ghostwriter Agreement for MarketersFlyMSG FlyPlate template for marketing message

Candidate Rejection Template for RecruitersCandidate Rejection Template for Recruiters flymsg flyplate template message

Prospecting Messages for Sales Professionalsflyplate template flymsg message for prospecting

As you can see, finding a template that will suit your needs and save time is easy.

FlyMSG Is Available Anywhere Online

As you can store your content in the cloud, it will be available in every situation. FlyMSG integrates with all popular third-party apps such as Gmail, Slack, Google Docs, Salesforce, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and LinkedIn recruiter. All you need to do is type your shortcode in your email or message, and your pre-written content will automatically appear.

FlyMSG Has a Simple Signup Process

create your free flymsg account sign up page text expander and writing assistant

You can start using FlyMSG in minutes. Create your free account and install our Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge browser add-ons.

Afterward, choose which plan you want to use. All plans, including the free one, come with FlyCuts.

There are two FlyMSG premium plans: FlyMSG pricing

  1. Starter costs $3.97/mo and includes up to 50 FlyPlates.
  2. Growth costs $9.97/mo and includes unlimited FlyPlates.

Check out detailed pricing.

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Productivity Vs Efficiency: the Bottom Line

woman sitting and smiling with computer on her lapIn this article, we discussed the differences between productivity and efficiency and their interdependence. We explained that productivity refers to the number of outputs, while efficiency refers to the quality of those outputs.

We introduced FlyMSG as a speed writing tool that can increase your productivity and boost efficiency. It is a writing assistant already used by professionals in companies such as Paypal, Netflix, Uber, Geico, and more. It helps you find, copy, paste, reuse and manage written content with just a few strokes!

Start saving time now and sign up for FlyMSG!

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