Weekly Word Archives

[Weekly Word] Doing it well

Illustration by Kevin Christopher M. Tee (2015); editing by Allister Roy S. Chua (2015)
Illustration by Kevin Christopher M. Tee (2015); editing by Allister Roy S. Chua (2015)

ɪˈfɪʃ(ə)nt |

I am not an efficient worker, I will admit it. That alone takes away half – or even more – of my productivity, and it’s frustrating: Effectivity alone is not the key. It has to be tempered with and strengthened by efficiency. I first learned this concept in my first management class, and ever since then, I have never forgotten it, and in fact try to run my life with it. As a former boss keeps telling us, efficiency is effectivity over time (Effc = Effv / time): Your effectivity is actually making less of an impact the longer you spend on it. That impact is your efficiency.

Last week, I wrote about effectivity, and this week, we discuss the other half of the coin. As individuals trying to live for a reason that is rooted in being responsible and faith-driven, we need to make sure we really are achieving results – or else we are not doing anything worthwhile, nor are we contributing to the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. God wants all of us, and to use everything we’ve got, when we decide to follow him – in fact, the same boss (the most devout Catholic I know) shared with us that to not use the best of your abilities is actually a sin, as God gave us those abilities to further his agenda of love.

That said, imagine not being efficient in doing your missionary work for the world – the results you can achieve would seem so lackluster and lacking – you’d be screaming, “I can do more than this!” Have you felt this way before? I have. If you’ve had so, take a step back and evaluate: maybe you don’t have to improve anymore the work you’re doing, but how you’re doing it. (Hey, that’s what I feel right now!)

Last year, I developed a prayer that I constantly pray: to become a truly effective and efficient agent of social change. But perhaps I should reword it a little bit: to become a truly effective and efficient agent of God’s love and justice.



  • (of a system or machine) achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense
    • [in combination] preventing the wasteful use of a particular resource (e.g. “energy-efficient”)
  • (of a person) working in a well-organized and competent way


Late 18th century. The word itself is late Middle English (in the sense of “making”, “causing” – usually from efficient cause): from Latin efficient- (“accomplishing”), itself from the verb efficere (ex- [“out”, “thoroughly”] + facere [“do”, “make”]).

In other languages

  • Bahasa Indonesia: eficien
  • بهاس ملايو:
    • چكڤ (cekap)
  • Cebuano: batid
  • Deutsch: effizient
  • Español: eficiente
  • Filipino: mabisa
  • Français: efficacecompétent
  • 한국어: 능률적 인 (neunglyuljeog in)
  • Italiano: efficiente
  • ភាសាខ្មែរ: មានប្រសិទ្ធិភាព (mean brasetthi pheap)
  • Latino: efficiens
  • မြန်မာဘာသာ: အကျိုးဖြစ်ထွန်းစေနိုင်သော (aakyoe hpyithtwann hcay ninesaw)
  • 日本語: 効率的な (こうりつてきな)
  • ພາສາລາວ: ປະສິດທິພາບ (pasidthiphab)
  • ภาษาไทย: ที่มีประสิทธิภาพ (Thī̀ mī pras̄ithṭhip̣hāph)
  • தமிழ்: திறமையான (Tiṟamaiyāṉa)
  • Tiếng Việt: có khả năng
  • 中文: 高效 (gāoxiào); 塽利 (shuǎngli)

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