Are you Productive or just Busy? (Big difference!)

I hate it when people talk about “productivity”, and they really just mean “working more.”

It’s not about how much you work.

It’s all about how much results you get.

For example, as someone who’s writing blog posts and is active on Pinterest, one of my tasks is creating Pinterest graphics for each blog post I write. Ultimately, the goal is to attract the people that I can help to see my pins, read my article, take my Productivity Type Quiz, and join one of my courses.

(Keep reading, even if you’re not even remotely a blogger – this applies to you, too!)

To stick with that example, if it takes you one hour to write a great blog post, and then another three hours struggling in Photoshop to create two nice pins… you aren’t productive, you’re just busy.

Because instead of spending 75% of your time working on something that barely makes a difference, you should be spending time writing more blog posts (actually, you shouldn’t – more on that later).

What’s the result? Creating a pin.

What are your options?

  • Struggle with a software you aren’t good with (3 hours)
  • Use a simpler, more limited software that still does the job, like Canva.com (30 minutes)
  • Use a simpler software AND use reusable templates (5 minutes)

You might think using premium software leads to better results – and in some cases, it will (like for creating a very fancy book cover). But for this task, using a template and a simple software might get you better results if you’re not a designer, and in literally 3% of the time.

Most of the time, simpler is better. 80% of the tasks should have simple solutions.

Don’t ask yourself “How can I work more?”

Ask yourself “How can I get the same results with less work?”

Sometimes, it’s even worth sacrificing some quality if you can save time this way.

*gasp* Did he just say that?

Yeah, I did.

Let’s be honest: Most things we do ultimately don’t make a difference – the goal is to find the few critical tasks that DO make a difference… and then do those things with great care.

To stick with the previous example: Instead of spending 3 hours on creating pins in a complicated software… spend 3 hours researching which types of pins work best in your niche. What kind of design gets the most engagement, the most clicks?

Once you know that, buy a (or find a free) template that fits your findings. Using the right template might double or triple the results – so the most important work is that initial research.

It’s the same when writing blog posts. A good headline makes people curious. A great headline makes people click. If you write the blog post for an hour and take one minute to write the headline, you’ve wasted 80% of your time. Because it’s the headline that will make people click through to your blog, or click on that article.

Always focus on finding the one task that makes the biggest difference – and put most of your energy there.

Because at the end of the day, we all have limited time. Even if you work full-time and hustle 12 hours a day… there’s only so much you can do in those hours.

What if, for example, your most important work is your content, because you’re an expert who needs to share their expertise? Instead of writing one blog post for two hours, and then editing it for two hours, adding design and images for an hour, and then creating Pinterest graphics for two hours, you could outsource ALL of that. Write a blog post in two hours, then spend $10 on fancy editing and $5 on having pins created. You just “bought” 5 hours of time for $15. In that time, you can write two more blog posts instead, your most impactful work.

Or maybe, your true impact comes from working directly, 1-on-1, with clients, and you only write blog posts to get more clients. Is writing blog posts really the best use of your time, then? Can you outsource it? Stop it? Find a less time-consuming method to reach new people? Get someone who’s an expert at that to either do this work for you, or get someone to teach you their (more effective) strategy?

Productivity isn’t the problem

Most of the time, if you aren’t getting the results you want, it’s not just about how much (or little) you work.

For example, I recently realized that I had started countless projects in the past, none of them successful, for one simple reason: I had been obsessed with “building” something, but never believed in myself (or the project) enough to really follow through and run that business.

I was busy – working every day, sometimes as a side hustle, sometimes full-time. But my identity and beliefs made sure that all this work was for nothing.

You probably have goals.

Something you’re fighting for.

Maybe building your own business, a promotion, making enough money to send your kids to college, or maybe you’re still finishing your own degree.

If you aren’t consistently making good progress, you either have something holding you back from being productive (even if you’re busy), or worse, you’re putting in a lot of effort but your thinking is ruining your progress.

Take my “Productivity Type” quiz to reveal the underlying issues that are holding you back – and how to resolve them so you can finally close in on your goals.

Did you gain a new insight or inspiration from the post? Save it on Pinterest, so you’ll be reminded to be productive, not busy when you see it again later!

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