What’s the difference between being busy and being productive?
At many points, we sit for long periods “working” yet when asked for the results of what we’ve been up to…we have little or no results to show for it.
“The aim is not to be busy. The aim is to be Productive.” What does this mean?
The less you know what productivity really means – the more you stressed and overwhelmed you feel about what you do.
We are in a culture where people boast how long they work and even "plan to work" rather than how much projects they had accomplished.
Does your aiming to work for 16 hours a day translate to any measurable result right away? If No, you had better rethought what you know as productivity.
Being busy ≠ productivity.
This correlates with the staying Efficiency ≠ Effectiveness.
Being Productive has more to do with:
- Focused work
- Doing the right work (important and useful)
- Right timing
- Completing tasks rather than just starting
- Yielding results
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4 – 6 hours of focused work >>> 12 – 13 half-assed focus and concentration. We’re hardly productive working straight long hours due to our low attention span.
How much role does distraction kill productivity?
To increase your focus; you have to consciously minimize your distractions. Also, singularly focusing your mind would give you more results than multitasking?
Aim to work for at least 4 hours a day without checking social media.
Not all tasks deserve equal attention; as not all tasks give equal Return over Investment.
“Lack of time is lack of priorities. If you’re “busy” it’s because you’ve made choices that put you in that position.”
The most productive tasks are usually those with higher consequences, may or may not have deadlines and contribute immensely to the success of your work or business overall.
While the least productive tasks are usually those with low consequences and usually have no deadlines.
“Being busy is most often used as a disguise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable action.” – Tim Ferris
Routines, Meeting deadlines
A solid work habit beats a life filled with boring deadlines. Your habits and routines speak volume and can make or mar your productivity.
Deadlines make work seem important, but if your everyday actions are fuelled by meeting up deadlines – you’ll set yourself up for a life filled with stress, burnout and utter disgust for what you do. Work now feels like punishment and something to do away with.
The goal is to be productive even without deadlines.
The key to productivity is to pick out your most important tasks and aim to do them first. And do them as quickly as possible.
There might not be enough time and energy to do first things last.
Like Brian Tracy would say – “if you have two frogs to eat: eat the ugliest first.”
Do the most difficult and most productive tasks before engaging in the easy and least rewarding tasks.
8 Key steps to have the most Productive day ever:
1) Plan your morning from the night before: Make a to-do list the night before
2) Create a morning routine: consciously draft out how you intend to start your day and watch your productivity soar.
Do your most productive tasks first thing in the morning. Exercise, Meditate, Pray, Read, Write - doing one or more of these things helps to kick start your day right.
“Being too busy to meditate is like saying you’re too busy and don’t have time to stop for gas.” – Robin Sharma , Monk who Sold his Ferrari
3) Minimize social media: Avoid looking at socials or responding to emails for at least 1 hour after waking. This is simply to train your mind to do difficult things and be creative on waking not easily consume or solve repetitive problems from emails.
4) Ruthlessly employ the 80/20 rule: decide you most important tasks, start with them and focus on them throughout the day. Start with the hard task first usually the ones you tend to postpone.
5) Time blocking: Plan in advance specific work periods and do focused works for such periods. E.g. a 4 hour focused work on one particular project can get you way ahead of average.
6) Quit multitasking: focus one thing at a time. Get your phone out of your sight while working.
7) Aim to finish projects: I had a friend who had a rule “don't stop until you're done.” It sounded cruel at first but there was nothing he applied this rule that generated him mediocre results.
Regulate Dopamine levels while working: Dopamine is a feel good hormone that essentially works to make us feel good after achieving something. Eliminate essentially all forms of premature dopamine:
8) Remove notifications; notifications and alerts are fuel to dopamine. If you’re always getting notified for unimportant tasks – you easily get distracted and disrupt your flow.