The new furniture was delivered in August for The Makeup FX Workshop. A swish new boardroom table and chairs, a couple of glass display cabinets, and five big bookcases for the offices.
Picking up piles of books and magazines from the floor that has been their repository for the last few weeks, and re-homing them in nice neat clusters on otherwise empty shelves is a very happy-making activity, and it got me thinking.
Organisation is an essential part of doing a good job, in any field, yes? A crucial… well, do you call it a virtue, a trait, or a skill?
However you arrange the words, organisation is crucial to being able to sustain a career in Makeup FX.
Whether it’s organising your kit so you can find things exactly when you need them, organising your time effectively in preproduction, organising the workspace, organising your workflow to sculpt, mould and make your appliances, and then, finally, being organised onset so you get your actors ready on time, if you don’t have the ability to systemise, arrange, and control your actions, you wont last long in this business!
But what is organisation, exactly, and how does it translate into action?
I have met many people throughout my life who devoted what seemed like most of their lives to being ‘organised’, with colour-coded everything and cross-referenced lists and categories that would put the Dewey Decimal System to shame. Entire retail chains exist dedicated to selling prettily coloured stationary and filing systems, and the self-help section in any larger bookstore will have an entire shelf devoted to systems of organisation that purport to change your life in ten chapters or less! However, being able to arrange your possessions according to category and need, pack a suitcase without creasing anything, or make and freeze a weeks worth of meals in one go, while undoubtedly EFFICIENT, doesn’t necessarily translate into being an EFFECTIVE use of your time and resources.
In short: It doesn’t matter how good you are at completing a task, if the task itself isn’t one that is helping you achieve your goals!
What’s the difference between Efficient actions and Effective ones?
Efficient (adj.) Performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort.
Effective (adj.): Adequate to accomplish a purpose; producing the intended or expected result.
A person can be highly efficient at performing a task that, frankly, isn’t giving them any benefit. Someone else may be great at doing the things that will get them the result they need, but perhaps not doing them in the most organised and streamlined way possible.
So in an ideal situation we want to be performing the right tasks, in the best way possible, in order to be both efficient AND effective!
Focuses on doing one’s work in the correct manner
Seeks to avoid failure
Prioritises having the means or resources to do a task rather than results
Oriented toward keeping the present system going
Performs each of the stated duties of a job description in the correct manner.
Concerned with keeping the status quo (things the way they are)
Inflexible — determined to carry out plans regardless of change.
Comfortable with keeping things as they are.
Prone to keeping record of what is going on.
Personal efficiency is related to the systems that you have in place – the things that allow you to accomplish the most easily.
Some characteristics of people who are efficient are:
You are organized. You can find things quickly.
You know how to use the tools on your computer to the nth degree
You write readable and actionable emails
Your meetings are well run
You process all the expense reports turned in to you at one time and on a regular schedule (for example)
You know how to work well with your assistant
Focuses on the desired result
Prioritises the importance of the end of the task over the method of doing it
Uses a job description to define the work to be done and to set goals based on priorities
Flexible reaction when change requires it.
Attempts to find new ways to perform the task better
Motivated toward growth
Constantly giving critical evaluation of a task
Personal effectiveness is closely related to education, experience, and expertise. Your effectiveness is supported by personal efficiency but it’s not the same thing. Education, experience and expertise are the things that give you the ability to meet the goals you have. If you are accomplishing goals that are not your goals continually – you are not being effective. You are being active but not effective.
Examples of personal effectiveness are:
Meeting deadlines for reports or other contributions
Earning the amount you target
Taking the personal time you desire
Leading your team to define and execute a project
Getting the results you aim for
Achieving your career and life goals
So what does all of this mean to us?
Before you begin any task, consider
Firstly: is this particular action an Effective one? That is, whether it be re-organizing the contents of your wardrobe, or updating your portfolio, is accomplishing it going to get you closer to your goals?
That isn’t to say that you should only consider doing something if it relates to work- your personal goals and happiness are equally important considerations.
Secondly: if the answer to the first question was yes, then what is the most Efficient way to approach the task, thus making the best use of your available time and resources?
Don’t waste your time attempting to do something perfectly, if performing that task gives you no pleasure in the long run, or if undertaking that task wastes time by distracting you from your real intent. But if the task in question IS going to contribute to your end goals, then you owe it to yourself to do it in the best way possible, while still remaining flexible in the face of change and future needs.