Be effective every time you are doing anything. It sounds simple enough, but can be tricky because we do not always know the most effective way of a completing the task at hand. Experience is a big piece of it, but not all of it. Just because you spent 25 years in your field, does not mean you are the best. A young kid out of college can come along, spend 5 years in your shoes, and end up being more effective. Along with experience, you need to constantly ask questions and try thinking of better ways of getting the job done. Typically, someone with little experience will not know the questions to ask. When you complete your first project or two, you are now more experienced and should start thinking of the questions you will ask on your next project.
Each additional project you complete will help you gain more in-depth experience and allow you to start thinking about the desired end results. With more experience, you are going to be able to come up with better solutions for any issue that crosses your desk. We want to constantly be engaged in our work and take ownership for the results. Faster results do not always mean better results. This is important to realize because it does not mean the person that pumps out more is always the most valuable in the eyes of leadership. A lot of times the person who produces bigger higher priority results becomes more valuable and recognized. This is why a lot of times you see some workers who you perceive as doing less than you, getting the promotions while you are sweating away not being recognized for your work. Are you being as effective as you can be?
With all this being said, you still need to work hard. It is important to understand your hard work needs to be funneled into certain focus areas. If you are spreading your hard work out too thin, it is possible none of it will be noticed by leadership. The hard part is determining what is most important to your company and getting alignment with leadership. Leadership needs to know and understand what you are doing in order to recognize you. Provide updates frequently to make sure they keep you and your work at the top of their mind. Receive constructive feedback freely and be grateful for it. These things will help you become more effective.
You are not just being effective in your corporate career or wherever you work, but also being effective in your personal life. Effectiveness rules do apply everywhere in your life and you will see more gets done by doing these things. This is a topic that deserves more discussion. I will plan for a deeper dive into some concepts on this in the near future.