How’s your day been? Busy, I’ll bet. As business owners there’s ALWAYS loads to do and we can quite easily fill an entire day emailing, tweeting, phoning, updating websites and the like. So I’ve no doubt you are busy BUT…. can you honestly say that you’re always productive? I know I can’t…. but I suspect I’m not the only one who’s been known to spend the whole day at her desk and still somehow manage to accomplish very little!
Being busy is one thing but being PRODUCTIVE however, well, that is an entirely different matter! Whilst we may kid ourselves that they are one and the same, they are VERY different!
Being productive is when our actions move us forward toward our goals. ‘Busy-ness’ on the other hand, whilst being very seductive in the way it makes you FEEL as though you’re working away on important stuff, is often little more than ‘displacement activity’.
Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek said : “Being busy is a form of mental laziness— lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.”
When I first read this I thought, ‘ Hmm.. that’s a bit harsh Tim!’ but you know what, I think he’s got a point, particularly the ‘indiscriminate action’ bit.
When we’re not really clear about what it is we’re actually trying to achieve or when we lose sight of our overall vision, THAT’S when we fall prey to the random, ‘ready-fire-aim’ approach rather than ensuring our actions are focused on getting us closer to where we really want to be!
So if you find yourself busy rather than productive you might like to try the ‘Stop-Ask-Clarify’ formula:
Being productive first requires you to simply stop DOING and give yourself space to evaluate.
The question to ask yourself is, “What exactly am I trying to accomplish here?”
Just as busy-ness thrives on confusion and distraction, productivity thrives on focus and clarity. So get really clear and specific about what you’re trying to achieve because once you are clear it is so much easier to see and follow a defined path of action.
It’s easy to get lost in the detail and confuse activity with accomplishment so instead of getting on with busy-ness, STOP, ASK, CLARIFY… and realign your daily activities to your goals and to doing the things that matter…. and get on with business.