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Are You Busy Or Are You Getting Things Done?

There is a difference between being busy and getting things done, and it is important to recognize the difference.

You can be very busy responding to your email, responding to voice mail, and helping other people with their urgent priorities. You can also be very busy cleaning your office, organizing your desk, and setting up a sophisticated file structure for all of the electronic flotsam and jetsam that enters your world. Doing this work can give you a tremendous feeling of accomplishment, too (especially if you make a list and cross of the activities as you complete them). But you can do all sorts of tasks like this and still not have gotten anything done.

If you really want to get things done you have trade the activities and tasks that don’t move you closer to your goals for the outcomes that do. You have to trade email and voice mail for a higher value task or activity, like developing new relationships and nurturing existing ones. You have to trade cleaning your office and organizing your desk for developing the work that will better serve your clients. You have to trade low value work for planning and preparing, for focused work creating, and for the real work that produces real results.

The important work you really need to do is more difficult. It creates more resistance. This is the work you are avoiding when you are scratching the low value tasks off your list.

Your results in business, in sales, and life are going to be generated by the time, effort, and energy you invest in those few tasks that generate real outcomes. You don’t generate results by having an empty inbox, a clean desk, an organized office, or the best filing system for your electronic documents that the world has ever known.

Swap the low value tasks that steal your time and allow you to avoid your real work for higher value outcomes and a much greater—and much more real—sense of accomplishment.

Questions

What are the tasks you turn to when you are avoiding the real work you need to get done?

Why is there so much resistance to higher value work?

What are the two or three activities that you really need to devote your time, energy, and effort to in order to produce real results?


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Comments

comments

  • Sally Draper

    I think you have to get to know yourself and the type of productive person you are. Maybe, you have “peak hours” where you know you should focus on bigger tasks. For me, I know I need to “ease” into the day, so I start with email, voicemail and easy to cross off tasks. I save bigger project work for mid-morning and mid-afternoon, allowing a break for lunch. When I am working on project work, I allow myself few distractions. I put my phone on do not distrub and close my email. Once I stopped being a slave to email, I got control of my time. :)

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