You’re Not Productive, You’re Just Busy

Looking back at yesterday’s calendar, you had a busy day. Lots of meetings and emails, right? But just how productive were you? I’ll bet you still have the same important things on your to do list that were there yesterday. What just happened?

The Difference Between Productive And Busy

Some productivity gurus say you should break up all major projects into smaller tasks, so that you feel more productive when you cross those off your list. But if your to do list never gets smaller, then your major projects never get done. You’re just busy, not productive.

Busyness is Bad For Business

There’s a reason that it’s called “busy-work” or as Christel Quek , who leads social business for Samsung Asia,  calls it “busyness”.

Constantly filling your day with simple and easy-to-do tasks, rather than having set  goals or milestones to track can make you feel accomplished without achieving much. To be productive, you need to measure your tasks against those goals. Are you getting closer to reaching targets with each task you finish or remaining completely stagnant with menial work continuously piling up?

If the answer is no and your targets are just as far as they were last month, then you’re not only wasting time, but also money. Stop finding ways to keep “busy” and only do work that contributes to moving that needle.

As Quek put it poignantly: focus on having more life in your years, rather than just having more years in your life. Similarly, aim for more accomplishments at work rather than just more work accomplished.

3 Ways To Move From Busy To Productive

Becoming productive, instead of busy, requires certain actions. Use these three business hacks and see how much more productive you can be:

  • Figure out what MUST be done today, and tie it to a business goal, like customer acquisition or revenue targets

  • Skip the multi-tasking and focus on a single task to complete. (aka “Follow One Course Until Successful”)

  • Start a productivity journal. It’s a good way to recognize what you’re doing, as it’s there staring you in the face. It’s also a good analysis tool, letting you see what you do well, and what you need to change.

Being more productive takes a conscious effort on your part. Once you’ve decided to eliminate the busyness and get down to real work, you’ll see a big improvement in your business, and as a bonus,  life in general. And who wouldn’t want that?

What’s your favorite productivity or workplace hack for getting more done?  Let us know in the comments below!

photo credit: Helga Weber via photopin cc