Minimize non-productive work

by Michele on January 13, 2011

Productivity Key

Productivity Key

What does “non-productive work” even mean?  If I’m working, isn’t that by definition productive?  After all, I have to be on Facebook for my business don’t I?  I have to go to that cocktail party networking mixer right?  How can I stay informed if I don’t read blogs?  That’s work, not goofing around right?

Well, yes, those things are work.  To a degree.  That’s why I suggest minimizing that time, not eliminating it.

The trap with these types of activities is that they are fun.  Who wouldn’t rather got to a mixer in a trendy bar than stay home and write articles, work on strategy, balance your checkbook or file that pile.  The problem is that these activities, in many cases, don’t pay off well enough to invest massive time in them.  But they are fun, so it’s tempting to spend too much time on them and justify it because after all it is work you know.

What’s the answer?

  • Decide what you want from those efforts (leads, sales, contacts, traffic, etc) and see if you can find a way to get that.  If not, give consideration to letting the activity go.
  • Challenge any preconceived notions you have about things you “have to” do.  If you really can’t let something go, figure out the minimum you need to do to sustain your business and come up with the fastest, lowest effort way to do that (I favor checklists).
  • If you decide to hang onto an activity that doesn’t produce results, acknowledge that you are doing the activity primarily for fun.  Enjoy it and celebrate the opportunity your business provides.
  • While you are evaluating the effectiveness of your activities, try to set some numeric goals.  For example, if you say you want leads from your networking activities, now many would make it worthwhile?  How will you keep track?  How many hours of networking effort are you willing to put in for each lead?  Which events are the generating the most leads?
  • If you choose to continue a low-results activity, make sure to pick the best of the available options.  If you love social networking but don’t get much in the way of results from it, at least spend your time on the network where you get the most results.

What fun-but-not-productive activities are you considering modifying?  Tell me about it in the comments.  I’ll be sharing my big shift in this area soon!


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