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Activity vs Productivity

‘I’m running around like a chook with its head cut off.’

How many times have we linked being busy with being productive? When someone asks how our day/week/life is going, often our response is ‘It’s busy. There’s plenty on!’

And yes, while we often need to do something to accomplish something, being too busy can blur our ability to think clearly and strategically. 

Focussing on productivity over activity takes discipline and the ruthless elimination of tasks from your to-do list that others could do instead. But outsourcing or delegating these jobs will leave you free to focus on what you do best.

I’ve seen this many times. While a video editor can record her own voice over for a project, it’s often a far better use of her time to outsource the audio recording and editing, leaving her free to focus on the vision and creating something exceptional.

Or, while a young entrepreneur can handle invoicing and following up with debtors himself, it’s probably a better use of his time to pay a bookkeeper, allowing him to focus on developing the product and delighting his clients.

We need to learn how to delegate and focus on the things that only we can do. However, this can be easy to say but harder to put into practice. Because if your diary is anything like mine, it can get hijacked by unplanned, urgent tasks.

I once heard it said that almost anyone could do 80 percent of what you do, and most people with the appropriate training could do 15 percent. The last 5 percent? Only you can do that, and that is what you should focus on. 

From bookkeeping to social media management, HR to IT - good leaders know they need to delegate responsibility to ensure they have time to focus on what they alone can do.

Sometimes we need to slow down and be more strategic in our activity. Because in slowing down, we might just be more productive.

Activity does not always equal productivity.

Abe Udy

Abe is the founder of Abe's Audio and started the business in 1998 from his bedroom with an old computer, fax machine, dial-up internet, and a microphone in his wardrobe. Today, he leads a team that provides audio production and voice overs to media, agency, eLearning, video & creative clients around Australia and beyond.

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