Busy Doesn’t Equal Productive

Have you heard of RescueTime? If you install this app on your computer it will log every place you spend your time during the day and then give you a report on your productivity.

I used it a good bit when I first began working for myself, to help me curb my Twitter habit. RescueTime allows you to set goals for the day, something I found helpful.

I currently have it set to flag a day where I’ve spent more than 20 minutes on Twitter, since I really shouldn’t be just trolling Twitter most days. If I spend 20 minutes on Twitter, it should be for a good purpose in serving my clients or growing my business.

But what about…

Yesterday I was in the writing mood, so I spent 2 hours writing content for this site. That’s 2 hours at the beginning of my day in Scrivener, Blogo, Evernote — all ‘productive’ applications.

According to RescueTime, I had a very productive day.

However, I shouldn’t have been writing. I should have been working on a client site that needs to ship at the end of next week.

Sure, I was busy and focused that entire time. I wasn’t distracted but I certainly wasn’t effective.

Todoist Karma

Todoist is my daily productivity app of choice. It works great with teams and clients and I love how well it integrates with GTD methods. I did a big comparison of Todoist and Nozbe if you want to dive deeper.

One of the fun things that Todoist has is ‘karma’. You get karma points for completing tasks, adding tasks, using filters, and finishing all your tasks in a day.

The trouble is, that quest for karma and task streaks can potentially lead me off-task, thinking I’m still being productive. It’s so easy to just toss on a bunch of ‘easy’ tasks so I can have 5 tasks completed in the day (the default Todoist setting for a streak) when those 5 tasks simply get in the way of the work I should actually be doing.

Just like my writing and RescueTime gave me a false sense of being ‘productive’.

You’ve got a superhero in your brain

Yup, you’ve got a superhero with you all the time. It’s one of the best things you can do to make your day productive.

It’s the word NO.

I need to get better at saying NO to my writing so I can focus on the things I really should be doing.

I need to not just put simple tasks on my list so I can get a ‘streak’.

I should be focusing on the right things, not just doing things for the sake of doing ‘stuff’.

Is there anything you’re doing to procrastinate? What are you doing instead of the real tasks in your day?

Tomorrow we’ll talk about the 7 big strategies I use to stay effective, not productive, in my day.

1 thought on “Busy Doesn’t Equal Productive

  1. ‘No’ is my favorite word. I wish all my friends act the same way as I do…

    I like this part:

    “The trouble is, that quest for karma and task streaks can potentially lead me off-task, thinking I’m still being productive. It’s so easy to just toss on a bunch of ‘easy’ tasks so I can have 5 tasks completed…” Absolutely correct. Awesome thought!

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