How To Tell If You’re Being Productive Or Just Busy

There’s a big difference between being busy and being productive. When you’re busy, you may feel like you’re getting things done because your day is packed with activity. However, you may not ever cross anything off your to-do list or make any meaningful progress on your work. When you’re productive, your schedule may be full, but you are focused and intentional with your work. Instead of working frantically, you work purposefully.

If you’re making calls all day but don’t have much to show for your work, you may be stuck in a cycle of being busy. Fortunately, you can take steps to break out of the cycle and focus on productivity instead of simply filling your day.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share insight from Celestine Chua, the founder of Personal Excellence, on ways to tell if you are being productive or just spinning your wheels.

Busy people work hard. Productive people work hard and smart. The most productive people focus on being effective first, and then efficient, says Chua. Both types of people have a strong work ethic, but those who are just busy work linearly without contemplating better ways to do things. For example, instead of going back and forth with prospects to coordinate meetings, perhaps you could use a scheduling tool like Calendly.

Busy people focus on details. Productive people look at the bigger picture. Don’t let yourself get bogged down in the details. It’s often much better to make your choice and go with it. You can usually revise later. For example, if you’re spending hours writing sales emails, don’t stress that they’re not perfect. Chua says it’s better to learn as you go.

Busy people let others set their direction. Productive people set their direction. Chua says that instead of buying into what others try to sell you as the truth, think about what you want for yourself. What is your passion? What is your vision? Even if you can’t do this right away, you can work towards it.

Busy people always say yes. Productive people say yes selectively. If your workday tends to slip away from you, you may be overbooking yourself. Instead of immediately agreeing to every project and accepting every meeting request, consider if saying yes is really the best choice. The most productive people have learned how to fiercely guard their time. They work on what really matters instead of saying yes to everything.

Busy people chase every trend. Productive people take a more thoughtful approach. Remember that just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s right for your business. Chua recommends considering the value of doing something new rather than diving in headfirst. Productive people know that when one trend is over, another will take its place. They approach trends curiously but thoughtfully, taking time to contemplate the advantages and disadvantages.

Busy people do everything themselves. Productive people use tools and resources. Instead of tackling every task yourself, learn to delegate or outsource. This is what the most productive people do. Think about hiring someone to do the work you don’t particularly enjoy or that takes up a substantial amount of your time. And remember to have the right tools that can help you get things done faster.

If you’re always “so busy,” reflect on how you spend your time. Maybe you often get caught up in the details, or maybe you overschedule your calendar. You can better serve your clients and grow your career by committing to being truly productive and not just busy.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Celestine Chua is the founder of Personal Excellence, where she shares advice on how to boost productivity and achieve excellence in life.


filed under November 2021
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