Every small business owner is crazy busy and has a packed schedule.
But how many of them are actually productive? Are they getting the results they want, or are they just intensely busy in a chaotic way? Or, are they spending their time on meaningful tasks, or are they just focusing on being good at everything?
In today’s crazy world, understanding the difference between busyness and productivity is the first step you need to take to successfully manage multiple business operations.
Have you ever said to yourself, “I was busy all day, but I feel like I didn’t get anything done”?
If you answered “Yes” to the question above, this post is what you need to turn your busyness into productivity and accomplish more in less time.
Table of contents:
1. Busy Vs. Productive: What Are The Differences?
There’s a world of difference between being busy and being productive.
First and foremost, the culture of “busy” is an ongoing trend.
When I ask a friend, “How are you?” I usually get a short, surface-level response, such as “I’m so busy”, “I’m swamped with work”, or “Busy…you?”.
Most people wear their busyness like a badge of honour. So, what does busy actually mean?
Busy means, well, busy. For example, you’re busy when you’re at your wits’ end with the crazy morning rush.
However, being busy says nothing about being productive.
In this section of my post, we will go over the key differences between being busy and being productive.
- Frantic hard work
- Being obsessed with perfectionism
- Falling into the trap of multitasking
- Being good at everything
- Being always in a hurry
- Focused smart work
- Being a purpose-driven leader
- Focusing on completing one task at a time
- Excelling in some areas while neglecting less important ones
- Staying relaxed while working (even on a meeting-filled day)
Hopefully, now you have a clear understanding of the differences between being busy and being productive.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the most efficient ways to turn “busy” into “productive”.
2. 5 Ways To Turn Busyness Into Productivity
- Use the Eisenhower Matrix
The Eisenhower Matrix is a simple tool you can use to prioritise tasks. The Eisenhower matrix is named after Dwight David Eisenhower, an American army general and statesman who once said: “I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.”The matrix is divided into four quadrants with different work approaches:
- Do it first: for urgent and important tasks
- Schedule it: for important but not so urgent tasks
- Delegate it: for urgent but less important tasks that you can delegate to others
- Delete it: for tasks that are neither urgent nor important
The Eisenhower Matrix is a simple but effective tool that helps you eliminate time-wasting activities and focus on more meaningful business operations.
- Break out of your comfort zone
To start being productive (and not just busy), you need to identify the excuses you use to avoid performing the tasks that push you out of your comfort zone.
Your business growth requires the destruction of your comfort zones. Therefore, you need to stop performing the same tasks, the same way, over and over again.
Starting a business is risky and takes guts. For this reason, you have to test your abilities and leap outside your comfort zone.
Innovation and constant change keep your business on its toes (while your comfort zone is your worst enemy).
For example, you may find excuses to not call the CEO of a major corporation and open yourself to opportunities. But, by doing so, you remain in your comfort zone (that keeps you trapped in busyness).
If you step out of your comfort zone and call the corporation’s CEO to arrange a meeting, you will accomplish a goal (and this is exactly what being productive means).
- Use the right tools and resources
While busy people try to do everything themselves, productive people rely on the right tools and resources to help them.
In one of my previous posts about the most common mistakes that people make when starting a business (you can read the post here), I have highlighted that doing everything yourself is a huge rookie mistake as you place yourself at high risk of burnout.
If you try to handle all business operations in your start-up’s early stages, you will end up being just busy and not productive (because you won’t be able to prioritise tasks and focus on the core business).
The most practical and cost-effective way to access the necessary tools and resources for your business is getting a virtual office that allows you to free up time and turn your busyness into productive, meaningful work.
A virtual office is an affordable set of services that helps small businesses build a professional image and enjoy a wide array of services, such as professional meeting rooms or call answering and mail handling services.
To learn more about the features and benefits of a virtual office, you can read this blog post.
- Apply the “Eat that Frog” method
Have you ever heard of the “Eat that Frog” method? The motivational public speaker and self-development guru Brian Tracy used the phrase “eat that frog” as a metaphor for tackling the most challenging tasks of the day.
You may ask yourself what swallowing a frog has to do with turning busy into productive. In fact, the frog represents the most annoying or challenging tasks you would rather avoid than accomplish.
To develop this method, Brian Tracy was inspired by one of Mark Twain’s famous quotes: “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
The logic behind this method is simple: you should use the energy you have in the morning to accomplish the most dreadful tasks that you least want to do. This approach will allow you to come one step closer to achieving your goals (as I mentioned above, productivity is all about achieving goals).
- Use a Kanban board
A Kanban board is a tool designed for workflow visualisation that helps you track progress. Kanban is a Japanese word that means “visual signal”.
To apply the Kanban method, you can either use a classic dry-wipe whiteboard or Kanban software.
To depict your work at various stages, you need to divide your Kanban board into more columns. For example, you can divide your Kanban board into three columns: “to do”, “in progress”, and “done”.
Then, you can move tasks from one column to another to track your progress (if you have a dry-wipe whiteboard, you can use cards or sticky notes for each of the tasks you need to accomplish).
Using a Kanban board will allow you to improve efficiency and productivity, prevent overburden, and reduce wasted time.
As a business owner, the way you spend your time must align with your priorities and responsibilities.
Even though being busy can give you a sense of accomplishment, it does not bring you the satisfaction of reaching your goals.
To turn busyness into productivity, you need to learn how to prioritise (the tips in this blog post will help you prioritise work and focus on the most meaningful tasks that will bring your business closer to success).
If you think that productivity is the secret to success and need more valuable resources to improve work efficiency, do not hesitate to contact the B2B HQ team. We would be delighted to provide you with a virtual office that includes all the necessary tools and services to maximise your workday and become highly productive. For more details, do not hesitate to contact us!