Did you know, there is a difference between doing more and getting more done?
Busy isn’t the same as being productive.
Being busy makes us feel like we moved the needle forward. Productivity is getting more done effectively actually moving us toward our goal.
And I’m spending today’s episode diving into that difference so you can decide what matters more to you.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
- Learn the difference between being busy and being productive
- Understand how to reframe productivity and how it looks in your life
- Discover how to unroot the mindset you have about busyness and productivity
Links in this episode
- Real Results Roadmap VIP Day
- DM me on Instagram
- Join the Unstoppable Action-Taking Entrepreneur Community
Rather read than listen? ⬇️
Did you know there is a difference between doing more & getting more done? Well, there truly is and I’m spending today’s episode diving into that difference so you can decide what matters more to you. Ready? Let’s go!
So, productivity seems to be the end-all-be-all for most entrepreneurs.
We are impatient to get to the dream life and business that the successful instagram influencers are living, jet-setting first class to Bali, living it up in the jungles of Costa Rica, jumping from pool to pool at 5-star resorts in LA and Miami.
Or just being able to cover this month’s bills and have a bit leftover.
But both seem to be at the end of unearthing the ever-elusive productivity secrets and hacks that allow those people that we see on the internet achieve the things we have decided we want for ourselves.
What’s Wrong With Productivity?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a productivity junkie as well.
Hell, I am a productivity coach.
My livelihood depends on helping others be more productive with their limited time and resources. But I have noticed there has been this issue when people start talking about productivity and they define it as doing more. And that is a massive problem.
Because whether those people are supporting productivity or bashing it (i’ve seen my fair share of both), disseminating false information is dangerous. So I am here to set the record straight. Ready for it?
Let me explain the difference.
Let’s start with this idea of busy being the same as productive. If you are anything like me, an achiever, an action-taker that loves accomplishing stuff, someone who relishes in checking things off a to-do list, you may enjoy being busy. It makes you feel like you are moving the needle even if what you are doing is busy work.
But here is the reality: Just because you got a lot done in a given day doesn’t mean you were necessarily productive. Likewise, just because you only worked two hours in a day doesn’t mean that you weren’t productive.
Busy vs Productive
Busy is getting a lot done. Productivity is sustainably moving you toward your goals.
Being busy means you are doing more. Being productive is getting more done.
Busy focuses on efficiency. Productivity focuses on effectiveness. Sometimes productivity looks like cranking out blog posts and other times it looks like intentionally resting and recharging.
It’s like a quantity vs quality kinda thing. The busy piece may mean that you have a lot going on, but it isn’t necessarily producing any meaningful results.
Sustainable productivity means that you are able to move towards your goals faster and easier because you are consistent.
Productivity is a practice, not a one time destination.
Productivity is a lifestyle, a practice that applies to your whole life and not something that stops just because you’ve closed the email app on your phone.
The Chaos of Busy
Even just think about how we often think about the metaphors we use for the things we need to do. “Stuff on my plate” or like —
When I was in my last 9-5 job, I’d often refer to my obligations as balls I had to keep in the air with constant juggling. But that metaphor feels chaotic and like with one false move everything will come crashing down.
It also inherently indicates that at some point that it is inevitable that at some point everything will come crashing down because you can’t juggle forever (though your arms would be nicely toned).
Or I would imagine that there were thousands of tiny trash cans all around me and some of them kept catching fire, so I would run around trying to put out the fires… in total reactivity mode.
How to Think About Productivity
I now like to think of productivity as a dance, moving from one role or task to another effortlessly, one step to another. When you think of productivity and moving through the daily tasks and to-dos and roles, there is an opportunity to rest, pause, and reset WITHOUT all your hard work coming crashing down. That pause is intentionally put there to increase the overall impact of the piece, the effectiveness of it. And as a dance, even if you slip up and miss a step or get off beat, you can keep going and find your place again, many times without losing momentum or impact.
It requires practice to make progress & to make it look easy. It requires muscle memory and challenging yourself with new steps. It requires grace, elegance, and hard work. Plus there is something much sexier and desirable about equating yourself with a dancer than a juggling clown.
If you are busy, sprinting toward the finish line, you are going to run out of steam much faster than if you moved forward strategically, resting and recharging when it made sense.
You need to be able to take a day off every once in a while. You’re not doing anybody any good by glorifying busy. If you never give yourself a break, you’re not getting to your goals faster and easier. Burn out takes more time to come back from than if you just took a day or even a few hours off every once in a while.
Rest and relaxation are part of the equation to productivity. It’s not just direct action.
Focused action + energy management + rest & relaxation = optimum productivity.
So let’s recap a moment. Doing more is being busy while true productivity is getting more done that truly matters, that moves the needle on the things that really matter to you. Sustainable productivity is a combination of focused action, managing your energy well, and resting & relaxing like it’s your job because well it is. Basically what I am saying is if you want to achieve your goals faster & easier, drop the drive for busyness and start being more productive.
So How Can You Make This Shift?
Here are three simple things you can do today to begin to practice productivity instead of being busy:
- Understand the reason why you crave being busy & unearth it. Yes, mindset matters. If you derive your worthiness as an entrepreneur, mom, partner, sister, daughter, or just human in general from what you can check off your to-do list, you have to get to the bottom of that and unroot that limiting belief before this switch from busy to productive will actually stick. Truth is many entrepreneurs I work with (and I used to do this as well) will be busy as a way to feel like enough, no matter what they’ve accomplished (it’s usually quite impressive). That is a form of imposter syndrome and how it shows up to keep you held back and on the road to burnout.
- Get clear on your goals. So, part of the definition of productivity is making forward progress towards what you want for yourself so you need to outline what exactly that is. I can’t give you the 3 goals you need to work on right now because I don’t know what it is that you want for yourself. Only you can do that. Then you determine if what you are doing is getting you closer to those goals or not.
- Finally, you have to prioritize the tasks that will get you there, to those goals. Not all tasks are created equal and the price of your dream life is letting go of old habits & patterns of checking off the easy stuff first. That means you have to start cutting the stuff that isn’t aligned with your vision, your values, your mission, your goals. I want to invite you to choose no more than 3 must-dos every single day and 2-3 projects each week to leverage the limited energy and mental bandwidth you have to truly move the needle. If you feel that you need a bit of help prioritizing and creating a plan to stick to, I want to invite you to check out my Real Results Roadmap VIP Day. During this one-on-one VIP Day, we will create your high-impact aligned 6-month plan for your business to actually set you up to achieve your goals rather than just spin your wheels and set the same goals year after year. What could be better than having a productivity expert walking you through creating your plan to be ultimately productive?! If you are interested, head on over to erinhaworth.com/vip-day to learn more and snag your spot. There are limited spots since this is a high-touch offer.
Remember, you don’t have to fall into the trap of being busy any longer. You can make a few changes to prioritize & practice productivity over just being busy.
I always like to end each episode with an action step that you can take right now to help you move forward and begin to implement immediately. Here is your action step for this episode: Take a look at your to-do list. Define how each one directly impacts your vision, mission, & values. Can’t come up with anything? Remove it from your list.