Productive or Busy. Which One Are You?

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If you are looking for more results in your business there is a real important piece of self-evaluation that must be considered in order to get better results.

That is, asking and reflecting upon this question; are you productive or just busy? Perhaps your goal for better results from your business may mean more income, perhaps it is the same amount of income with more time off, more time with your family.

Increase your productivity and your profits!

Increase your productivity and your profits!

Most entrepreneurs are simply busy, with no clear cut goals and they are hoping the busy activity will somehow lead to results. I know, because I have been there! I used to pride myself in working 14-16 hours days, 6 days a week at least, doing a lot of stuff, mostly just being busy. I know I was jumping from one priority to the next, creating new projects while 10 others were left unfinished.

Did I produce results in my business, yes most certainty but it was not a very effective approach. The mere fact that I worked 14-16 hour days was not what determined that I was busy, there are many, many successful entrepreneurs who work 14-16 hour days and are very productive. Tony Robbins is one of them.

Perhaps your goal is not to be like Tony Robbins, but you may have to agree, he has succeeded in his business. Dan Kennedy is another entrepreneur who is like productivity on steroids. When he works, he works, no interruptions!

First, let’s address some characteristics of someone who is busy and not getting any results in their business. You can calibrate to see if you fall more into this category (hopefully not) vs. the productive category.

  • Reactive day. No scheduled calls or appointments
  • Take calls all day. Anyone can call you at any time and you answer the phone because you have no scheduled appointments. You may be unprepared for that call, but you take it, anyone.
  • Randomly on Facebook and the internet throughout the day. No scheduled time.
  • Checking emails first thing in the morning and 10 times per day and will stop in the middle of a project to answer an email.
  • Not delegating any work to a virtual assistant or staff.
  • Not prioritizing your day.
  • No clear deadlines of goals.
  • No stopping time on calls.
  • Not taking the time after a call or meeting to make notes, the next step or some type of summary.
  • Always being available, including having an open door policy all day long where anyone can interrupt you at any time.
  • Not valuing your time.
  • Jumping from one marketing concept to the next without any consistency.
  • Not working on the business to improve the systems and process. Only focused on what to sell or offer next.
  • Never take any time to organize.
  • No monthly budget.
  • Write long email answers.
  • Low energy.
  • Not in shape.

How did you do? Did you find a few items that you might be guilty of? Even as I write them out, there are some, I need to improve with, (not having a set time daily to answer email)

Now, let’s shift gears to the list of characteristics of some of the most successful entrepreneurs.

  • Plan their day and work their plan.
  • All meetings and business calls are scheduled.
  • There is stopping time for each call that is clearly defined ahead of time.
  • Avoid interruptions like the plague. Only a scheduled open door policy at specific times during the day.
  • Schedule time per day or per week to answer emails.
  • Schedule time to post on blogs, Facebook…
  • If there is a 20-minute break they are working on the next project, not playing Angry Birds on their iPhone.
  • Focus on one task at a time (although they may be working on 20 projects and may be at step 2 on one project, step 6 on another, they crank through work, projects, and can do multiple things at one time). This does not mean multitasking, that really is the ability not to focus at the moment and jump all around.
  • Highly value their time, difficult to get a hold of, must pay for time. Can you just call up a major CEO and expect to get him on the phone?
  • Prioritize every hour of every day when working.
  • Delegate, hold accountable and follow up.
  • There is an intensity to keep score and win.
  • Knowing your business and personal financial numbers.
  • Rarely get overwhelmed because they are organized, although many times it looks like organized chaos.
  • They have a lot of energy and can out produce others. They rarely complain about being tired, even though they were up earlier and stayed up later than most.
  • They exercise and are in shape.
  • They take real time off.
  • They quickly get to the point and quickly end a meeting if not appropriate.
  • They reply with a short email.

How did you do? Being highly productive is no easy task. If you want more financial success to follow someone around for 3-4 days who are very successful and take notes on what they do and calibrate to your most recent business day. What do you notice that is different? This can be tough because you have to self evaluate your own time.

We all would like to justify how productive we are and why the reason we are not getting results is something out of our control, like the economy (it is a tough economy yet there is an opportunity also). It is hard to compare to results many of us got back in 2004-2007 when the market was riding high and credit was freely available to most. Those days are over, so now it is time to really become more productive, and take massive action and develop a laser focus to produce results. Unfortunately, sequential steps, 1, 2, 3 4…will not usually work.

Successful people are doing 10 projects at the same time, each on a different step and have much higher expectations of the amount of work they crank out in an hour, day…

I was at a school play and there was an hour between performances. I was 10 minutes from my office, which was a 20 minute round trip. I drove back to the office, followed up with 5-7 emails, returned two phone calls, delegated 3-4 new steps in projects to the staff and drove back in time for the next performance. I did not play “angry birds” to just pass the time. That is a typical pattern with the most successful entrepreneurs.

Take the time to pick two or three categories that you will commit to today to improve for you to become more productive in your business and notice the results on a daily basis. Look for the small improvements and within 30 days to 60 days, you will be very pleased with your results!