Are You Productive Or Just Busy?


Somedays, it seems like I wake up and do a few things, and next thing I know, the day is totally gone. I never really sat down, I worked all day, it’s nighttime, and what did I really get done? These days are probably my least favorite. I feel like I was busy but not productive. I’m making it a goal of mine in my business, workouts AND in my personal life and health to avoid them like the plague.

There is something called “Parkinson’s Law.” It has nothing to do with your shaky Granny.  It states that, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” It can be applied to more than just work though, and it rears its ugly head far too often. Think about your workouts. If you have one hour to workout, you will pace your exercises and sets to fill that full hour. If you have nowhere important to be, you end up working out a bit longer. If you’re in a hurry, next thing you know, you’ve gotten a pretty good pump in about 30-45 minutes, and it may have even been a better workout. You can define it in the form of time, “The amount of time which one has to perform a task is the amount of time it will take to complete the task.” Think about storage. If you buy a bigger place because your current house is full, it’s a very short time before the new one is full! If your deadline is Friday, you’ll twiddle around Monday through Thursday, working slowly and you’ll finish it last minute.

This law NEVER works for productivity in any aspect of life. It creates a level of hidden procrastination and eliminates urgency to tasks. It pretty much promotes laziness. Not a good thing. What if the deadline mentioned above was Tuesday? You’d quit screwing around, work your butt off and get it done! Why? Because you had to. My theory on “laws” such as these is that the more you are aware of them, the greater chance you have to manipulate and defeat them! Where do we start then?

Set a very defined timeframe to accomplish a goal and push the limit of your abilities when giving yourself the deadline. Stick to it. Eliminate the time killers, like internet usage (for non-work), newspaper reading (it’s all bad news anyway and you can’t do anything to change it), cell phone talking (again, for non-work or periodically checking on family members) and reading/returning unimportant emails. (If you delete them anyway, get off the mailing list ASAP.) For another business guidance look for the best financial tools and discover it here. Realize the consequences of your actions. These useless things are destroying your ability to enjoy life by being more productive! Another law is the 80/20 rule (Pareto Principle), which says that 80% of your dissatisfaction and problems are caused by 20% of your interactions (whether people or activity), and 80% of your joy and success will come from 20% of other interactions. Learn to focus on the 20% that provides real happiness and ditch the 20% of crap that’s bogging you down! You just freed up about about 2 hours or more in the day (not to mention the stress from the 20% of junk) to be truly productive!

My challenge to you is to take these extra hours I gave you and spend them on two things. Family and your health.

Family: If you have children, take that extra time and do something to teach them a life lesson that you wished you learned earlier. Help them gain healthy interests. Talk to them. They will always be your children, but they won’t be children forever. Take the same approach with your parents. They won’t be around forever, and no matter where they are in life, they’re always going to want to spend quality time with their child. Go visit, take them out to lunch, or even just a quick call can be so important.

Health: I shouldn’t even have to say it, but for goodness sake, EXERCISE!!!! There is no supplement, medicine, surgery, chiropractic adjustment or anything else that will duplicate the anti-aging, pro-health benefits that exercise provides. I could quote numerous studies that show how exercise helps mood, sleep quality, pain levels, longevity, sex life, weight, cholesterol, cardiovascular fitness, lung capacity, sickness, disease, energy… Get it??? (If not, stop reading, I’m wasting your time!) If you already exercise, then use some extra time to plan out a clean diet. Go to the grocery store (they sell food, too, not just toilet paper) and buy some healthy meats and vegetables. Then prepare your food for the next day or couple days. Diets break when you aren’t prepared. Having healthy food on hand reduces temptation to roll through McDonald’s or Arby’s on a quick binge. We created new time, so now there’s no excuse!

Bottom line? Use your time wisely. You DO NOT have an unlimited supply of sand in your hourglass here. Make the most of it, and the more you can free up your “busy” schedule to fit in the things that will give you a fulfilling life, when the last sands drop through, it will have all been worth it!

-Dr. Craig

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