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Busy =/= Productive

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

Personally, now that I started a company and manage employees, I am very sensitive to busyness vs. productivity. And I can clearly identify busyness in myself (and others) and compare it to my productive time (and theirs’).




I hate to burst your bubble

You are probably a lot more busy than you are productive, even now, you are reading this, being busy, while thinking you are being productive. Got Ya! You are being productive by reading this, because I will show you some metrics for identifying busyness and productivity and how to become aware of it. So keep on reading busy bee.

Measure Busyness

  • Firstly, What is the Outcome you are working toward? Clearly articulate it.

  • What actions am I taking toward the outcome?

  • How do I measure those actions? What gets measured gets managed!

  • Would it affect the outcome if I stopped performing this action?

Did that call really move the needle? Yeah? Where to? How so? What was the outcome? What would have happened if that call didn’t happen? Could that call have been a quick message or email instead?

Oh and that email, what about it? Did that really affect an outcome? Ask the same questions as above. That article you read, the youtube video you watched. Ask these questions to everything that you do!

Well Not Everything!

Productivity is a measure of an outcome you want to achieve. It’s okay to be busy, even to do nothing, but when you want something and perform actions toward that goal, this is when you must be strict with those actions and you must be thoughtful about what you are doing to achieve those outcomes.

Symptoms of Busyness

  1. Multitasking — I’ve seen people on meetings (being productive…) and they’re busy swiping left and right on Tinder and Bumble — True story, this happened at my co-working space, and the guy didn’t get any…. …work done or girls…

  2. Time — Aimlessly, endlessly performing an action. Set a time block, limit the amount of time for specific activities — Read up Parkinson’s Law. Little hack, take your laptop somewhere, don’t bring your charger! Get as much done while you have the battery.

  3. Challenge — Doing something repeatedly, creates routine, you have to be deliberate with your work, with your effort and you have to incrementally improve over time. If something isn’t challenging you, you are probably mindlessly participating in it.

Symptoms of Productivity

  1. Specific goals — Start email campaign is not a specific goal. Start writing. Start <insert activity>. Write weekly medium post, thats specific.

  2. Time — Set a schedule for when you perform this, figure out when you work best or perform best for that activity, eg: Gym, I train in the early mornings, work is early mornings and late evenings- Midday is more for admin, naps and reading

  3. Measurable — When I exercise I record weight and reps, always increasing them over time. When I work — How many potential clients have I spoken to this week? How many prospects have I emailed?

Purpose. It’s not easy being productive, we need clarity, energy and discipline. I find when you have a larger than life goal, when there is a meaningful purpose behind your actions, it gets easier, the energy arrives, the clarity arrives, the discipline, it arrives.

Finding purpose is like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. Start throwing!

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