Are you very busy? I know a lot of people that are frantically running around professing they’re just too busy to stop, but if you actually ask them what they’re busy with, they often struggle to tell you.

There is a huge difference in being busy and being productive. Being productive adds value to your day-to-day life and demands a level of control and calmness. Being busy is often just being frantic and not getting a lot of things finished. I try to shy away from the busy word as often as I can as, to me, it feels chaotic.

Productive people get shit done. They are focused, driven and know what they need to do, but sadly being productive isn’t as easy as we think. Research shows that only 30%-40% of the average workday is actually productive, yet we manage to fill the time, don’t we? Distraction and procrastination have a lot to answer for here as often in a working environment filled with many other people there is far too much temptation to not focus on the matter at hand. And even for those of us who are running our own businesses, we can be fully immersed in a piece of work and an email pops up and we change tack and lose focus completely.

Being productive takes a concerted effort. People that are smashing their productivity levels know their goals, what activities and tasks they need to do and have a clear sense of purpose. You can read more on this in my previous blog here.

They understand the value of productivity and the ample reward it gives – I mean no one likes working late to catch up because they’ve been distracted all day. Where’s the fun in that? They have their eyes on the prize and have recognised and tackled the ingrained habits that were stifling them – such as procrastination and time wasting.

It’s interesting to see the productivity levels of people working to a tight working frame (eg, flexible or part time workers) compared to those that don’t. It’s that classic phrase isn’t it – “if you want something done, give it to a busy person”. In this case though, I’d definitely swap the word busy for productive.

For the ‘busy’ people – there is hope of course. Really looking at your daily productivity levels can be a real eye opener and giving yourself an honest assessment of how you are really spending your time is a great starting point. From there, you can look at what goals you want to achieve in order of priority and what challenges face them not happening. Is it external factors like back-to-back meetings? Or is it more subconscious?

Once you have recognised the roadblocks, you can do something about them and be familiar when they are happening. If you are in too many meetings for example, you could reduce this by solely focusing on the critical ones. Perhaps delegate the others if someone needs to attend or even better, really question the validity to make sure everyone’s time is valued. Alternatively, if you’re easily distracted, what exactly is it that’s distracting you? By setting certain times in the day to read and reply to emails rather than having constant alerts pinging up on screen can be really beneficial.

Being productive can be learnt and when you couple productivity with reward, things definitely start to shift.

If you would like help with your productivity, please do get in touch.