Ditch the Busywork: Embrace Productivity

In this episode of Kanawha Valley Hustlers, I dive deep into the world of productivity. Actually getting things done.

Be sure to check out Marketing Secrets for Savvy Spends presentation on September 19th.

If you’re on a construction site and your task is to dig ditches, there are two ways to approach it. The first way involves a shovel, a pickaxe, and a lot of sweat. You dig, cut through roots, and spend hours toiling away. The second way is to use a backhoe, a powerful machine that gets the job done in just a couple of minutes.

Now, here’s the kicker: the person with the shovel and pickaxe might seem incredibly busy and hardworking, but they’re not productive. On the other hand, the person operating the backhoe is getting the job done and is truly productive.

This analogy perfectly encapsulates the core idea I want to share today: being busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive.

One area where people confuse busyness with productivity is email management. How many of us spend hours constantly checking and responding to emails as soon as they arrive? It feels like we’re accomplishing something, but in reality, we’re just being busy.

A more productive approach is to set specific times for email management. Why? Because constantly interrupting your workflow to answer emails breaks your focus. It might seem like you’re multitasking and being productive, but you’re actually less efficient.

Another notorious productivity killer is meetings. We often fill our schedules with back-to-back meetings, believing we’re doing a lot. But ask yourself: Are these meetings productive? Do they lead to decisions, actionable items, or meaningful discussions? More often than not, they don’t.

I have a rule of thumb when it comes to meetings: if a complex decision needs to be made, then a meeting is justified. But if you’re just discussing next steps or sharing information that could be conveyed through an email, you’re wasting time.

Task lists can also be a trap. Spending hours meticulously organizing your to-do list might seem productive, but it’s another form of busyness. The real productivity comes from ticking off items on that list, not just creating and rearranging it.

Multitasking is yet another illusion of productivity. It might feel like you’re accomplishing multiple tasks simultaneously, but in reality, you’re doing everything less efficiently. Focusing on one task at a time and completing it thoroughly is the path to productivity.

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