“Never confuse activity with productivity.” -Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life
As the Marketing Director of Lead Star for the past 5 years, I’m exposed to many great thoughts on leadership shared by the team. I love reviewing what we’re saying and how we’re sharing it with the faithful followers we’ve built over the last 13 years. One mantra that has resonated with me is “Busyness does not equal progress.”
As a small but nimble Lead Star team, we’re constantly focused on this concept. We all know that we have the same number of hours in a day as everyone else, and we all value our time outside of work and want to maintain a balance. Therefore, we strive to take a critical look at what we want to accomplish and the best way to get there, before we dive right in.
Truth be told, I’m not always so good at this! As a Type A list-writer and list-doer, when faced with a challenge, my favorite thing to do is hunker down, make a list of everything that I think needs to happen and get to work (it’s like detailing and following a marathon training plan)! Well, over time, I’ve realized that strategy hasn’t always worked that well for me. While it can in some circumstances when the path ahead is very clear, other times, I’ve headed down my busy path only to look back later and think, “Wow, I really should have approached this challenge another way, and I might have saved a lot of time in the process and achieved a better outcome.”
We often place a greater value on someone “getting right to work” on a task. The real value, however, lies in stepping back and thinking through what we’re trying to achieve, why we’re trying to achieve it, and what’s the best path to get there. This time spent strategizing and perhaps even talking it through with a colleague, boss or mentor (and this can even be through a lunch, a walk, etc.) can be time much more valuable than simply diving right into the task at hand.
When faced with a mounting to do list or an obstacle to conquer, I encourage you to first figure out what you’re trying to do and why. We all know that there are limits to our capacity. If we’re not working smart (being busy but not making progress), it’s easy to run out of time to do the things that really matter to us.
One of my favorite quotes from our New York Times Bestseller, SPARK, is this, “Life’s aha! moments don’t happen as you hurriedly shift from task to task. They occur when you’re relaxed and have the space to think broadly and clearly.” Wishing you many “Aha! moments” in your future!
P.S. – I’d love to hear from you! What topics would you like us to write more about? Email me and share your thoughts today.