Skip to main content

Is it efficient or effective? Just use TV

When you’re sick, all you want is an efficient way to get an effective cure.

Everything hurts.

You’re feeling achy and blah. You’re so tired. There’s an itchy, splotchy, reddish rash all over your legs. Since last week. And it’s spreading. What’s wrong?

Time to call your doctor’s surgery.

You’re dreading doing that because last time it was so difficult to get an appointment. Which was then changed. And when you got there, you still had to wait over an hour in an overcrowded waiting room.

Finally you saw the doctor, but the computer was down and she couldn’t check your blood test results. Therefore she couldn’t prescribe the right medication. She was in a hurry and rushed you out the door.

What an inefficient (disorganised, wasteful, unproductive) and ineffective (worthless, insufficient, futile) experience.

But this time the phone is answered on the second ring. By a friendly voice. You can get an appointment this week. Your choice of morning or afternoon. Wow.

The new receptionist is efficient. He only asks you to spell your name once. He quickly finds your file on the computer. He verifies your mobile number. The day before your appointment, you get a text message to remind you.

When you arrive, the waiting room is busy but not chaotic. There’s an empty seat. And you only have to wait 8 minutes.

The doctor greets you warmly and listens to what you have to say. She examines you. She refers to your notes on the computer. And makes her diagnosis. She explains that antibiotics aren’t effective against viruses and so is prescribing something else. You feel she cares. She knows what she’s doing. She’s an effective doctor.

Three days later the rash is gone and you’re feeling better. The treatment has been effective.

This doctor’s visit was both efficient (fast, streamlined, went smoothly) and effective(valuable, successful, helpful).

Now how to remember which is which?

Did you notice that efficient ends in a ‘t’ like fast while effective has a ‘v’ like valuable?

Use TV to recall the difference.

Liked this? Sign up for more.

And find other common confusions herehereherehere and here.

© Christina Wielgolawski