Busy vs Productive
“Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is a form of mental laziness—lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.” Tim Ferriss – 4 Hour Work Week
We feel good when we are “busy.” We feel that we are making progress, accomplishing goals, and driving revenue. We’re busy, right? That should pay off – shouldn’t it?
Productive is defined in the dictionary as “yielding results, benefits, or profits.” Many people define productivity by how many hours they spend at the office, how many meetings they have, how many phone calls they make. If you think that being active all day is a way to measure your productivity you are fooling yourself. Let me be perfectly clear: if your actions do not produce tangible, measureable results then you might be busy, but you are certainly not being productive.
For those of you that have a slight guilty conscience let’s define the problem, talk about how to change that behavior, and move toward a goal.
3 things that make you think you’re busy:
- Meetings – I know, a “think tank” sounds official. “Hey – we’re all on the same page!” Good for you. The truth is that some meetings can be a complete waste of time. Good meetings are about strategy, and they result in clearly defined action plans. “Progress report” meetings can be replaced with emails.
- Processing Details – If your value is defined by your ability to process details then you should be earning an hourly wage (and there is nothing wrong with that!). BUT, if you believe that you are a productive driver of business then get out there and make something happen!
- Social Media – I firmly believe that Social Media can be used to brand companies and individuals, build an audience, and draw attention to company initiatives. When used properly, Social Media can be a powerfully effective marketing tool, but when you are looking at pictures of old boyfriends or your neighbor’s cat, you are not being productive – and you know it.
3 ways to be productive:
- Define Future Action – Want to have a meeting that is productive? Submit reports before your meeting and then use your meeting time to discuss strategy, assign ownership to projects, and define clear measurements for success. For further information on improving your meetings, read the book “Fierce Conversations” by Susan Scott.
- Delegate – Your clients don’t need YOU to dot the “i’s” and cross the “t’s” – they just need you to make sure it gets done. Processing details will prevent you from going out and driving revenue, yet they might be the perfect opportunity for someone else to get experience in the business world. Do everyone a favor and go hire some help!
- Define Measurable Goals – “Productive” is not a feeling, it is a result. Establish clear goals and measure definable results over a specific period of time
Consider everything you do in a typical day. Write it down and review it. Are you being busy or productive? Is it really necessary to ______, or could you spend your time prospecting, selling and closing? What have you found to be your most productive use of time? Where do you find yourself spinning your wheels? If you want new results in your business, then you must do things differently – you must focus on being productive.