Were you busy today? If we asked, I bet your quick response would be yes. That you really don’t have much time to spare and you have a lot on your plate that never seems to get finished. While we don’t doubt you mean what you say, I do wonder if you are engaging in busy work or productive work throughout the day. Did you know there is a difference between busy work and productive work?
It goes a bit like this…
Busy work looks productive, but it may be 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 the time investment.
Here are some examples of busy work:
- Reading non-essential emails that don’t pertain to work
- Browsing through Facebook or other social media
- Printing material to “read later”
- Moving materials from one place to another in your office
- Answering the phone every time it rings, or texts, or fb messages.
- Allowing others 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 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.
- Clean and tidy your office at the end of the day so it is fully functional at the start of business.
- Set office and phone hours and stick to them. 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 copy for a blog post or website
- Writing and sending an email with an offer for your community
- Setting up a new sales page
- Developing a new program or service and taking steps towards launch
- Setting up sales calls with interested clients
- Adding content to a membership site
These activities generate leads or income and are considered productive. These types of activities should be done early and intentionally each day, prior to 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. Get focused and engage in productive tasks before you get busy. Get those money tasks done first!