Yesterday, my client Carol, and I were discussing her crazy busy week. She said she was so busy that she barely had time to eat. (I wish that was my problem – I have no problem stopping to have a snack or a meal!)
When I asked her what she accomplished in her blogging business, she quickly stopped talking. “Accomplished? Like, you mean being productive?” asked Carol.
“Exactly” I replied. “There is a big difference between busy work and productive work.”
So, if I asked you, you would likely tell me that your day today is busy. That you really don’t have much time to spare and you have a lot on your plate (btw, that never seems to get finished).
While I don’t doubt you mean what you say, I do wonder if you are engaging in busy work or productive work. Did you know there is a difference and it’s a big one?
Allow me to explain…
Busy work looks productive, but it may give you a false sense of productivity. Being busy may include activities that don’t lead to income generation or activities that take time but don’t give a return on your time investment.
Here are some examples of busy work:
- Reading the email on that new facial mask that obviously doesn’t pertain to work
- Browsing through Facebook or other social media to “relax”
- Printing out interesting blog posts to “read later”
- Moving stuff from one place to another in your office
- Allowing the kids or your spouse to interrupt you – no matter what they need
These examples illustrate how we can lose time in an activity that isn’t generating a vital outcome.Being distracted from productive work leads to time slipping away and a sense of overwhelm.
Though the tasks may feel important and even unavoidable, you can manage them in better ways. Here are some tips:
- Filter emails or screen them by subject before opening.
- Use an app like the Pomodoro Tomato Timer to restrict and manage social media usage.
- Only print material when you know you are going to read it that day because it’s on your to-do list.
- Tidy up your office at the end of the day so you can start quickly tomorrow.
- Use voicemail and close the door when you are focused on productive work.
Busy work is often disguised as productive work, but it doesn’t generate a money-making or vital outcome. In contrast, productive work directly affects sales, growth, or other targets you have set.
Here are some examples of productive work:
- Crafting a new blog post
- Writing and sending an email with an offer for your tribe
- Setting up a new sales page
- Developing a new program or service and taking steps towards the launch
- Adding content to a membership site
These activities generate leads or income and are very productive.
I find that types of activities should be done early (productivity does fade as the day gets later – I don’t even bother to start something new after 4 pm- and before non-essential busy work that matters but doesn’t result in income.
Learning the difference between busy work and productive work can be the ticket to change for your productivity and help make progress each day in your business and your life.
Remember to get focused and engage in productive tasks before you get busy.