How Do You Know if You’re Being Productive?

My coaching clients often ask me, “How can I be more productive?”

My question in reply: “How do you know that you’re NOT productive?”

Most people will say “I feel unfocused or scattered,” or “I work all day and I don’t feel like I’m making progress,” or “It feels like things take so long to get done.”

However, just because you feel productive, doesn’t mean you are productive; and just because you don’t feel productive doesn’t mean you aren’t productive.

If my desk is messy and I clean it off, that sure feels good. I feel like I really got something accomplished.  But unless cleaning off my desk included putting business cards into my CRM and sending follow up emails to them, it’s likely that even though it felt really good, it actually wasn’t productive in the scheme of my business.

Yet if I struggle all day to put together a proposal for a new prospect, or make a bunch of sales calls that end up going to voice mail, I’m not going to feel very productive. But those activities will ultimately bring more results to my business.

As it turns out, “feelings” are a very poor way to gauge how productive you’re being. Instead, use statistics.

First decide what activities are most important for the growth of your company. Some examples are income generating activities like sales, marketing, or content and product creation. Then track how many hours you spent making sales calls in a week, or how often you put out content to your community.

You can also track how much time you spend on non-income generating activities like administration. While you can’t get around some admin in your business, the reality is that most of us start with those types of activities to “get them out of the way.” This is a very ineffective way of prioritizing that will result in frustration and feeling stuck.

I used to be on the hamster wheel of working in the name of “feeling productive” until I realized that not all activities in my business have the same impact on my success.  By tracking the facts around my work, it becomes obvious where my efforts are paying off and where I get stuck.

You may not see the impact of your efforts for several weeks or even months.  That’s why it is so important to also track and celebrate your wins along the way, no matter how small. By acknowledging those wins, you’ll create more of the “good” feelings of productivity you’re craving.

Let me know how it goes.

There’s a saying: “Rocks are hard, water is wet.” Very simply, this means that our judgements, feelings, and hunches are not accurate ways to measure how well you’re doing in your business.  Facts are facts – make a commitment to track your activities for at least a month and you’ll quickly see where you need to shift your actions to create the results you want. Have you ever wondered about your own strengths and weaknesses as the “CEO” of your business? I’ve created a quiz that can help you gain insights into your leadership style and areas for growth. It’s a fun way to reflect on your skills and discover opportunities for development. Take the quiz and unlock your CEO potential today! Click here to take the quiz.