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There is a subtle difference between being busy and being productive. Some motivational quotes often say “Be more productive instead of being busy.” I honestly agree with that. Sometimes we don’t know the real meaning of things until we notice the subtle difference between them. As a digital marketer who provides SEO services for clients, I used to get myself busy handling many things at once. I thought that was productive and useful but later I realised it’s not. Soon I realised why motivators made that quote. It turns out, this subtle difference between being busy and different is so much different than we can imagine.

When being busy, you are:

  • Constantly doing frantic work
  • Working harder
  • Fuelled by perfectionism
  • Very good at basically everything
  • Multi-tasking and doing shallow work
  • …and rushed

However, when you are productive, you are:

  • Doing more focused work
  • Working smarter
  • Fuelled by purpose
  • Great at important things
  • Doing deep work by simply doing single tasks
  • …more relaxed

Productivity is all about efficiency — doing more, faster and with less. Business owners sometimes wind up being busy instead of being productive due to the pressure they put themselves into. Are you a business owner? Don’t worry; I wrote this article just for you! Keep reading to learn more!

Keep time in mind

Time is precious and more expensive than money. You can earn money, but you can’t buy time, let alone the time wasted. Managing time is very important for business owners because they can use time to make new opportunities for their business. Therefore, in order to manage time, start managing your tasks as well. For example, if you have many tasks, start sorting out your tasks from the easiest to the hardest and the unnecessary to the most important tasks. When you think a task is not important and will not affect your business if not done, then you can get rid of it. Once you have filtered what’s important and what’s not, you can also sort it out by writing down from the easiest tasks to the hardest task. Once you are done with that, you can start going for the easy ones first before going for the hardest. That way you can save time and make your work more efficient because when you are too preoccupied with the hardest work, you may end up ignoring and forgetting other important tasks as well.

Reduce all the meeting times by 25%

I have met many people in the business world, and every time I meet them in person, all they talk about is “I have a meeting in 30” or “I can’t stay here long, I am going for a meeting with my employees.” Most people get used to having more than 5 meetings per week including twice a day meeting. They thought it was useful. They thought it was productive…but it’s not. It is only a waste of time and adding more pressure to the business life. The truth is; you can get the same amount of work done because so much time is wasted dealing with conference call setup and useless banter. If you cut one five-person meeting per day from one hour down to 45 minutes, you will gain back 25 hours a month of work time and that is roughly 300 hours a year, which is almost two months of work!

Plan for regular breaks during the day

Most people get this wrong idea about “the busier we are, the more productive we get.” The truth is; you are more productive when you are focused and you can’t be focused if you are tired. In some countries, some teachers think giving too many school assignments is good for students’ cognitive improvement. However, what they don’t understand is how that kind of method can actually impact students’ lifestyle. I’m not saying that giving assignments is not good. It is still good for students’ brain to train through assignments. However, giving too many of them is not good for their health especially for their brain. Too many assignments can put more pressure on the brain because it is demanded to finish all of them with a deadline. With this in mind, I think business owners can learn from this lesson. Don’t push yourself too hard when it comes to running your business. As long as you know your target and your plan, you are on the right path; therefore, don’t stress it and just take a break.

Ever been in a situation where you’ve got more ideas when you are taking a shower than when you are actually working? Yes, that happens because your brain is more relaxed when you are taking a bath. It gives you the opportunity to think straight and more effectively. For that reason, if you want to be more focused, you have to take breaks during the day to help your brain relax. Once you are relaxed, you can be more focused on your business plan and therefore you are more productive.

Sure, all the quotes about “hustle” is true. However, working hard doesn’t mean pushing and tiring yourself out until you can’t see tomorrow. Aside from it being unhealthy for your lifestyle, it is also not good for your business. When it comes to achieving goals, you need to make sure you can manage your time and tasks as well as do it properly, slowly but surely. If you can manage it well, your business is on the right path.