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Personal Effectiveness & Efficiency – From Basics To Athletics & How PAS Offers The Support

Written by: Ilham N. Musayev, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”

― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Based on my conversation with many people over the last 2-3 years and my personal observations, I observe that there is a need for solid improvement in Personal Effectiveness and Efficiency for many people.

People I spoke with also admitted that they need to get on top of these skills or habits and asked for some support.

Today I will try to uncover this subject, share some examples from my personal experience, and refer or navigate to modern tools and solutions which could be very helpful to resolve this puzzle.

Let’s start by exploring definitions of Personal Effectiveness and Personal Efficiency and understand what they mean in simple terms? I decided to refer to some external resources available on the Internet to keep these definitions as objective as possible and not as my personal view.

I liked how Personal Effectiveness was simply and accurately covered by Virtual College © (VC) and decided to share. Let’s see below how VC covers it:

What Does Personal Effectiveness Mean?

"In short, personal effectiveness means getting the best out of yourself. It’s an approach to success that involves utilizing all of your energy, skill, and motivation to develop and reach the goals you set for yourself. Individuals with good personal effectiveness tend to constantly strive to achieve more, advance their careers, and grow in both a personal and professional sense.”

I trust that this is simple enough and easy to understand the definition of Personal Effectiveness is helpful and draws some good picture in our minds.

And now a question:

"How are you Personally Effective?"

Have you ever tried to ask this question to yourself? If you try to answer it, then please be honest with yourself! This is the best gift you can ever give to your best self.

The good news is that it is never too late to ask that questions and start making improvements. Where to start? Well, we’ll cover the details in a little while during this conversation.

Now, let’s try to uncover what does Personal Efficiency means. I found information from very helpful:

“A truly efficient worker is the one who invests their time, efforts and other available resources into value-generating activities. The measure of the efficiency of a person can be expressed through the relationship between the lead and cycle times of their tasks.”

To put it simply (according to

Efficiency is doing things the right way, while effectiveness is doing the right things. Something is effective if it produces the intended result, whereas it is efficient if it functions with the least use of resources. It is possible to be effective without being efficient and vice versa.

Now, let’s dive into the characteristics of these 2 magic areas and see what qualities they hold so that we can easily identify them:


  • Process-oriented (best possible methods with least wasted resources)

  • Improves current workflow (present-oriented)

  • Measurable using predefined metrics

  • Time-sensitive

  • Input/output ratio matters

  • Primarily concerned with internal mechanisms (using minimal resources for maximum payoff)


  • Goal-oriented (best possible result, regardless of resources used)

  • Improves quality of work (future-oriented)

  • Difficult to measure

  • Not time sensitive

  • Input/output ratio is not important

  • Primarily concerned with external results (competitive position in the market)

Right, we now know enough about these two areas so that we are in a position to evaluate ourselves and understand if we are Effective or Efficient and maybe even both or none of them.

As I mentioned above, people I interact with frequently ask if I can share recipes of how I manage my time, as they know I have too much on my plate (work, development, family, personal business) to handle.

I always ask the same question in exchange: “What tells you that I am good at managing my time and priorities”? Is it really so obvious to you? I wouldn’t say I am good at it.”

The thing is that we are as human beings, tend to underestimate our capabilities and skills and never pay attention to some important details unless receiving feedback.

So, the answer to my question I ask in exchange on average comes like “We know how busy you are, you keep producing results, and the things you talk about keep moving and completed.” If I get these or similar comments, I usually agree.

But, I know personally that there is a big clash in my priorities and these priorities are not only work or development related. Many dimensions of priorities exist as life is happening now, and we cannot put things in a box! So, we must think from the “there is no box” paradigm to be fully on top of all priorities coming our way to be genuinely Efficient and Effective. And that was my caveat when I said above. I am not considering myself completely Effective and Efficient until I have been introduced to Personal Agility System and start implementing it in daily life.

I have always been structured and running things based on priorities. However, I knew that I need a well-structured solution, which helps me bring things together and help me see the bigger picture not only for the work or life priorities but also for all together. That would really help me to answer my main question, “What really matters?” Because this system was not available, sometimes I was focusing on areas which require less attention and effort. PAS system and framework really helped me get all the puzzle pieces together and visualized my priorities on various levels. It is now much easier to see “What really matters” and focus on the right work/life activities, which eventually make life much easier and less painful.

My main objective was to understand the areas of importance for me to focus on in terms of impact and deal with those activities in the first instance. Focusing on wrong activities equals wasting productive time, and hence unwanted surprises pop up later when I was not ready.

I have achieved my bigger goal of bringing all priorities together by using the Personal Agility System and identifying how those activities fit into my busy schedule. There actually were some activities that required a stop rather than a start. However, it is very individual and personal, and I needed to tailor my priority list to serve my specific mission and create the desired balance. Balance is the keyword here!

There are many wonderful PAS tools, which helped me get laser focus on “What Really Matters” for me. In Priorities Map mapping activities by personal/work/development & others helped a lot. Also, marking activities with Urgency status helps as well; I can decide which of the activities make me happy, and most importantly, it is possible to visualize and celebrate little successes and see how they are growing up. Celebrate is another keyword here! This is something that most people do not do. And it is wrong. It brings so many happy moments when we celebrate daily.

I also liked the Bread Come trailer tool, which helps to see cumulative progress of Done & Completed activities weekly, which boosts up confidence and positivity levels massively.

Overall, I liked the philosophy of the PAS. You first help yourself become organized and effective/efficient, and then you help others achieve the same. As they say, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” The more candles we light, the brighter the environment around us, and smarter and happier people will be serving our society. This is a great contribution to growing a healthier, self-confident, and sustained future. Isn’t that beautiful?

I now want to recognize the advantage of the “Forces Map.” It is an amazing tool that lets you visualize what is on the horizon for the period beyond 2 weeks and keeps you awake and alert. That way, it becomes possible to link near and long-term priorities and apply the “inspect and adapt” approach as more information becomes available.

I personally think that PAS is a great tool for business people, senior managers, and those who have a lot on the plate to handle; this system definitely helps to boost personal effectiveness and efficiency (we now know what they mean 😊) and get on top of the priorities people have on agenda. Either personally or via recognized practitioner training in just within 4-8 weeks, people can change their lives dramatically by learning PAS and how it helps to point laser focus on “What’s really matter” for them.

I am very happy and open to connect and guide on this journey those who really want to move from Personal Effectiveness & Efficiency basics straight to Athletics!

It is the right time now to ask yourself a question “What Really Matter?” And remember it is never late!

For more info, follow Ilham on LinkedIn & Instagram!


Ilham N. Musayev, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Ilham N Musayev is a mentor and coach (outside of the company he works for) who helps people unlock their potential in career and personal development. He also helps in the area of personal effectiveness, setting realistic goals, and becoming organized and structured. Ilham also helps to re-gain the [lost] confidence and look to issues and problems from a different perspective. Another area of his support is helping to cultivate servant leadership via coaching and mentoring technics.

Overall, he is an energy sector professional with 23 years of the practical experience obtained by working in one of the leader companies in this sector. Ilham’s experience is very multilayered. He worked and gained his experience from the following functions: Wells, PSCM, Operations, Global Projects, by mainly providing project controls support. For the last three years, he worked in Modernization and Transformation and Agile Design Teams and helped his company transform into new working ways. He currently is a part of the Agility team and, as an agile coach, supports the company by implementing agile ways of working.

Ilham holds the following professional certifications and accreditations: EMBA, PMP®, ICP-ATF; ICP-ACC; PSPO I; PAL I. He also is a Professional Life Coach and ICF Professional (Member).

Ilham’s position is that staying open for support, serving people as a leader, and helping people to grow is what wins hearts and minds and is the only answer to all questions.

His mission: “Aspire to inspire before we expire.”



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