“Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things.”
I’m smiling. Really smiling. Because Drucker has captured something really important for ADHD-impacted relationships. You can be efficient and get lots of stuff done. But that doesn’t mean you will be effective. Because when ADHD is at play ‘efficiency’ often comes after lots of reminders, defiance and ill will.
Which means in relationship terms, you aren’t being very effective. Just the opposite, in fact, you’re hurting the relationship.
Both partners are responsible for fixing this common problem. Non-ADHD partners must figure out what they absolutely, positively must have in their relationship and make sure they get that. For me there are three things on that list – connection/affection; respect and honesty.
Notice that NONE of those things has anything to do with efficiency. Which means that lots of stuff doesn’t get done quite on time in my household and I’ve learned to let that be. (Yes, it helps that our kids are grown.) I’m not letting my husband off the hook, mind you…just separating out the truly essential from everything else. He still does the dishes and other things because those are his work. But it’s 3pm and he hasn’t done dishes since last night…which isn’t all that efficient. He does own it. He has told me he will get to it when he has a break from work and – because I cherish respectfulness – I respect his choices.
It’s not efficient in the same way I would be efficient. Back when our relationship wasn’t very good I would have unloaded the clean dishes and done the dirty by now. And then resented that his tardiness was ‘forcing’ me to do it. Except it wasn’t. That was my choice. I was choosing efficiency over effectiveness.
It did not lead to happiness together.
Happily, I’ve learned to let him do the things for which he is responsible in his own time…within reason. If he waited for 3 days to do the dishes I would speak with him – respectfully - about how that upset me and interfered with my cooking.
Are you being efficient at the expense of being effective?
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