There’s a big difference between being effective and efficient. And you need to know when to switch between them.

Your left brain – being effective

Your brain is the most powerful computer in existence (at the moment anyway). And it has two different processors. The left part is more effective, it doesn’t care about anything except getting the job done. It’s more calculating and less feeling.

The left brain is like a laser. It can do only one thing at a time, and if disturbed it will need a few minutes to find it’s place again.

Your right brain – being efficient

Your right brain is the power house. It can get multiple things done at the same time and it’s much faster then your left brain. The main difference is that your right brain works when you take a break.

Notice that the best ideas come to you in the shower, or when you’re taking a walk. It’s not something that just happens, it’s the way your brain works.

How to use this to you’re advantage?

When you’re effective you left brain focuses on the problem at hand. And when you’re efficient you right brain figures out the missing variables. So you’re goal should be to activate the right brain as much as you can.

Steven Kolter calls this process “Flow”. One of his recommendations is to focus on a problem, get to all the things you can’t figure out. Then take a break and go for a walk. Make sure to have a recording device with you, because the ideas will just come to you.

So what is the difference between being effective and efficient?

When you’re effective you get stuff done. But you don’t really think out of the box. You just do what you know, like check your email, create presentations or do the dishes. When you’re efficient you think big picture. Should I even be doing what I’m doing? Or is there a better use of my time.

If there’s a problem you can’t solve you find the best way to approach it. Next time you run into a problem you can’t solve, test this system out. After you try everything you can think of, let it go. Take your dog out for a walk, meditate or exercise and see what you come up with.