Your days are nothing short of packed. After all, you’re a busy woman. Your full plate stays full; as soon as you shift one item off, another fills its spot.
The satisfaction of seeing your to-do list all checked off and nothing spilling over into tomorrow is as elusive as the unicorn your daughter wants for her birthday (whatever happened to ponies, anyway?). You’d gladly settle for it shrinking; your standards are realistic, after all.
But it’s all okay; you’re a productivity powerhouse and you get things done.
It’s just how this female entrepreneur gig works, isn’t it? You’re handling it like the Super Woman you are, just with a little less sleep and a lot more coffee than you’d prefer.
I get it. I hear you. But I also call bullcrap.
That’s not productivity; that’s busyness. And there’s a world of difference between the two, if you know where to look.
Busy V. Productive
At first glance, the two look identical. Or at least very similar.
That’s because you’re looking at the activities, though. The difference between them lies more in the results than the actions themselves.
Busy work fills your time; productive work fills your pockets.
Busy keeps you working harder; productivity has you working smarter.
Busyness leaves you exhausted, frustrated, and barely keeps the overwhelm at bay.
Do you engage in these busy behaviors?
- Reading non-essential emails that don’t pertain to work
- Browsing through Facebook or other social media
- Printing material to “read later”
- Moving materials from one place to another in your office
- Picking up your phone every time it rings or dings
- Allowing others to interrupt you (or interrupting yourself)
These activities fill a large part of many women’s work hours. When you allow these busy activities to creep into your work time, you’re actually not being productive.
Quite the opposite, in fact. The only thing you’re really accomplishing is wasting time.
When You Have To Do Busy Work
What about when these tasks are essential? That’s when they need to be planned and handled appropriately instead to taking over your scheduled tasks.
Here are a few ways to handle those tasks better:
- Filter emails or screen them by subject before opening
- Don’t head onto social media or into your inbox without setting a timer first
- Only print material when you know you’re going to read/use it that day (because it’s on your to-do list!)
- End each day with a clean desk and organized space so you can get right to work when it’s time again
- Set office and phone hours and stick to them; use voicemail and close the door when you are focused on productive work
These tasks, once busy work, are now helping you move the needle forward because you’re being proactive and guarding your energy and your outcome.
You’ve gone from busyness to business.
Productive work directly affects sales, growth, or other targets you’ve set for your business — hold everything you allow into your day up to these standards.
Here are some truly productive tasks:
- Writing a new blog post
- Working on copy for a sales page
- Writing and sending an email with an offer for your ideal audience
- Working on your next digital product or course
- Doing a FB or IG live and talking about your new offering
- Setting up sales calls with interested clients
Because these activities directly impact your income (or potential income), they are truly productive. That also means they should be getting top billing in your plan.
6 Productivity Tips To Take You To The Next Level
So beyond not wasting time, how do you use the time you have well? I’m so glad you asked.
Priorities first: brew your coffee.
Then: get to work! And -as they say- work smarter, not harder. Here are some things to keep in mind:
First things always come first
Remember those tasks that directly impact your bottom line?
Do them early and intentionally each day, prior to non-essential busy work that matters but doesn’t result in income. Put them on your planner when your natural energy is at its best and your focus is laser.
Set meaningful goals
If you’re just putting things on your to-do list to get stuff done, what’s the point? Know why you’re doing so you can know what you’re doing.
Always track your progress
If you can’t measure your success, how do you know it’s not just dumb luck? If you’re not tracking your activity, how can you do it again to attain more success?
And really, success happens on the journey to the outcome, so you have to track your progress one milestone at a time.
Use your minutes
This is something a lot of women struggle with, so if that’s you…you’re not alone. Just don’t stay there.
Either they schedule every minute of their day and feel like an utter failure if one task derails them or they throw all the things on the list and attack it like a blindfolded kid trying to hit a piñata.
Neither way works. But using your minutes means not wasting time…at all.
Honestly evaluate yourself
Many women will use their to-do list to assess their success. But that’s not quite right…
They should be assessing their DONE list.
After all, there’s a world of difference between what you put on your to-do list and what you actually accomplish. Be honest.
Take time off
Lastly, stop working. Take time off.
Rest is the secret ingredient missing from most entrepreneurial women’s schedule…don’t forget to make it a part of yours!
Enjoy Being Productive
Don’t forget to enjoy not just the thrill of your completely amazing results, but the process of productivity. When you enjoy not just what you achieve but what you do, you’ll truly be successful.
Money is not the only metric for success, but it’s a fantastic motivator and totally worthwhile goal. Be more productive so you can generate some serious cash to fund your life, your dreams, and your giving.