Every month I have my staff come together and I give them an hour to tell what I’m doing right and wrong as their leader. (Not so fun for me, but I can take it!) Seriously though, I think one of the best traits of an effective leader is being able to identify your strengths and weaknesses and learning how to make adjustments and mind shifts to better yourself.
An area that a lot of business leaders and entrepreneurs struggle with is time and prioritization. Even now, with all the things I have going on now, post-basketball career, I could drown in a sea of busyness. But that’s not how I’m supposed to be living or carrying out the plans God has for me in this season of my life.
That’s not what He has for you either! You were created for a purpose with a unique call on your life to do something great. When your life is full of busyness instead of being productive, you end up just running a race you won’t ever be able to finish.
So how can you tell the difference between being busy versus being productive?
1. Busy people scramble, productive people focus.
How many times have you been looking at the clock with a looming deadline knowing that you’re not as far ahead as you should be? The busy person will wait until the last minute and stress everyone out around them trying to make it happen, while the productive person will zone in on what needs to be done, create actionable steps to get there and course correct to make it work for them.
Start tapping into your inner planner. Break it up. Create small milestones instead so it doesn’t feel so overwhelming or intimidating.
2. Busy people work harder, productive people work smarter.
Nobody says you have to reinvent the wheel every time. Chances are somebody has done this already. This is where having wise-counsel comes in handy. Busy people bust their butt until they burn out, even when it’s not necessary. Productive people learn how to ask the right questions, develop a plan and seek clarity before they take action.
Take a breath. Pull back and get a different perspective. Look for areas to improve efficiency instead of just diving right in.
3. Busy people try to please everybody, productive people learn how to say No.
For some people saying ‘yes” is just an automatic reflex. There’s an innate instinct to serve and a strong desire not to want to say no because they might be perceived as not being a team player or unwilling to do the work. But what happens when you commit to something and can’t follow through or you can’t give your best? That’s worse!
I learned a long time ago that you can’t please everyone, but your focus should be pleasing those who are the most important to you. I get a ton of requests for interviews, guest podcasts and business partnerships and I have to gauge what I can and can’t commit to, taking into account what’s going to benefit my businesses, my family and help me keep my sanity.
You have to learn how to come to terms that it’s OK to say no sometimes.
4. Busy people try to be good at everything, productive people are great at a few things
We all want to learn new things. Sometimes we try to learn too many things and instead of excelling at them, we just do them. Take a moment and think about what your strengths are. What do people compliment you on? What are those things you do that make you excited and feel empowered? Take those gifts and amplify them! Refine them. Use them to make you stand out among the rest. There’s your superpower.
5. Busy people have multiple priorities, productive people have fewer priorities.
There’s so much truth in the statement, “if you have too many priorities, you have none.” Nowadays, we have so many things vying for our attention, it’s incredibly easy to spread ourselves too thin. You don’t have to be everything to everyone. The question you really need to ask is, “what is valuable to you?” How you choose to live your life will most likely be determined by what priorities you set.
Make time for yourself and give your brain a chance to recharge. Learn to listen to your mind and body. Make it a priority to devote time to work on yourself, your health, your spiritual life and your family.
Remember you set the tone for your day, so make it count.
6. Busy people let others direct them, productive people chart their own course
This one is especially true for us business owners and entrepreneurs. For one thing we are bull-headed and stubborn and want to have things our way because our company is our baby, our blood, sweat and tears, but at the same time as leaders we need to listen to reason and make sound decisions so it will positively impact the future of our endeavours.
Productive people put themselves in the driver’s seat. They don’t live in a constant reactive mode, but they always have those long-term goals just waiting in the wings as a constant reminder of where they are headed.
7. Busy people talk about change, productive people make it happen.
Do you know what the funny thing is about change? It’s constantly happening even when you don’t always see it. Busy people will talk all day how much they want their circumstances to change, but they end up staying in the same place, doing the same things, then one day wake up and wonder where all the time went. Productive people know what they want and they go after it.
I’m reminded of all the folks I’ve talked to so far on my podcast. They all knew what they wanted out of life, who they were meant to be and they bet on themselves time and time again, even when they didn’t always see what was ahead, but they knew only they could do it.
The only person who can create change in your life is you! And to create that change you have to like yourself, let go of regret and keep looking ahead.
Then you’re not just running the race. You’re winning it.
Listen to the latest episode of my podcast, Betting on Yourself. Make sure to subscribe to my email list to stay connected with me and never miss an update!