What is the difference between efficiency versus productivity? One way to compare both is by looking at speed versus velocity.

In Physics, speed is the rate an object covers distance. Velocity is the rate at which an object’s position changes. Speed is all about how fast one is going. Velocity is how fast one goes from one spot to the next.

This is speed.

This is velocity

It’s one thing to go fast. It’s another for how long it takes to reach a destination.

We sometimes measure our speed but we sometimes don’t measure how much nearer to where we want to go. Do we know where we are going in the first place?

If we travel 100 kilometres in one hour, our speed is 100 kilometres per hour.

But if we travel 100 kilometres in one hour but end up back where we started, our velocity is 0 kilometres per hour:

Efficiency is like speed. It measures how fast we produce versus how much resources we use.

Productivity on the other hand is like velocity. It measures how much nearer we are to our objectives versus the resources we spent.

Both are important. We shouldn’t need to choose one over the other. Both work for our benefits. We should just know which one we’re talking about when we wonder how well we’re doing versus our goals.

Acknowledgment

Thanks to the Physics Classroom for the very nice explanation between speed and velocity: