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Are you Productive or Just Busy?

The most valuable asset you have is your time. Consequently, it is essential that you use it in the most productive, efficient, intelligent and considered manner possible.

This doesn’t mean that you have to rush off, take a time management course and buy the latest PDA app for your phone.  It is true, in some cases, that applying theoretical techniques and using pre-programed devices and applications can be helpful but not until you can consistently answer one question in your own best interest.  What’s that question?

What is the best use of my time, RIGHT NOW, in this moment?

This is the essential question, not just for your job but for your life.  Sometimes the answer to this question going be that you should stop, take a break, spend some time with your spouse or your children or go to the beach, or get some sleep or go to the gym or just take a walk and clear your head.  The answer will not always apply to your job, but if you learn how to make smart decisions at work, you’ll soon have more time to indulge those options that call to you outside you career.

So, let’s talk about how you decide what the best use of your time is when you’re working.  If you’re like most of us, you are bombarded all day long with tasks and every time you finish one, you have to choose what you are going to do next.  This is where you separate productivity from simply being busy.

Productivity is about delivering results.  Specifically, the results that you were hired to make happen, the results that your boss looking for from you, the results that you’re very success or failure is measured by.  Do you know what those are?  If you don’t, you need to talk to your boss.  You need to have specific knowledge of the results your expected to produce and the top three Key Result Areas that your work is expected impact overall.

Once you know, you can evaluate every task on one very simple basis.  Does the task in question make a positive contribution to your Key Result Areas?  Will the task advance your efforts to produce those results you are being measured by?  If it doesn’t, don’t do it!  Delegate it, push it outside productive hours or maybe just ignore it if it truly doesn’t impact your productivity.

The BEST use of your time, right now, is never an unproductive, non-impactful piece of busy work that keeps you from the truly productive elements of your job.  Keep your focus and your results will improve dramatically.  You’ll get more done in less time and your family, friends, health and happiness will be rewarded.

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Jeffrey Jedlicki Pathway to Professionalism