How to be Productive, NOT Busy

637f8d55aaefbae9bec85d3a50b4f81aDoes this sound like you?
At the end of the day you’re often frustrated with your lack of progress on your always-growing to do list, but you’re busy and you feel like you’re getting stuff done, but in reality you’re just spinning your wheels – not really getting anywhere.
Let’s look at how easy it is to become stuck on the hamster wheel of busy-ness ::
Suzy works all day in an office as a Business Analyst but dreams of quitting and helping bloggers create incredible sites through branding and graphic design. So, she spends every spare night and weekend dedicating herself to her passion, her purpose; but she feels like she’s not getting anywhere… Night after night she sits down at her desk planning on writing a new branding eBook, or drafting a flyer to hang in local coffee shops; however, when it’s time to pack up and go to bed she realizes she didn’t start either! Instead, she was stuck in the never-ending loop of emails, web surfing, social media and planning.
Even though she’s “working” she’s not actually creating anything :: she’s reacting, not producing.
Does this sound like you? Don’t feel bad if it does! It used to be me and truthfully, the trap of busy-ness can still hit me today.
But being aware of the trap and knowing how to get around it can help you go from overwhelming busy-ness to kick-ass productivity.
1. Transition your mindset and your energy
In between events, projects, responsibilities, meetings, etc. it’s important to cleanse your energy and prepare your mind for the next project or task you are going to be working on.
Try this :: Close your eyes, take in a deep inhale, fill your lungs, hold for just a moment, then exhale forcefully through your mouth. Do this 5 – 10 times to help you clear your heart, mind and energy.
2. Declare your intention and goal
Know what you’re hoping to accomplish at this exact moment. Whatever you choose – working on a new project, answering emails, marketing – write this down on a sticky note and attach it to your monitor, somewhere you can see it.
This will help you use your time effectively because you will be focused on one
3. Clear away any and all distractions
Now that you know what you are focusing on it’s time to de-clutter and create space so that you can concentrate and give 100% of your energy, attention and passion into your goal.
This means :: closing out of your email, turning off your phone (or at least put it on silent), asking your roommate/children/partner to give you some time to work, and create.
4. Use a timer to keep yourself aware of your progress
Seems simple but using a timer is really helpful; especially for those that feel like the day just disappears!
Set your timer for 15 – 30 minutes (depending on how long you’ll be working) and every time it goes off use it as a quick check-in to make sure that you’re still on the right path. If not, gently re-focus your attention. Then re-set the timer for another 15 or 30 minutes, and keep using these check-ins throughout your day and night.
5. Take breaks. Seriously.
The only time you should keep working is if you’re in the FLOW :: if you’re so absorbed that you’ve literally become one with what you are creating – then you have my blessing to keep going!
But if you’re just working like normal, it’s actually better to take breaks to let your mind, your eyes, and your body rest. Take a short walk, brew a cup of tea, do some jumping jacks or flow through a couple sun salutations – anything to get yourself UP and away from your desk.
Do NOT check your email or go on any social media during this time. A break is a time to rest, reflect and re-energize :: none of which happens when you get sucked into Facebook or your inbox.
6. Give yourself a pat on the back
When it’s time to close down for the night think back to all you were able to accomplish and give yourself a little pat on the back. Seriously! And if you ended up folding laundry, walking the dog, making dinner, helping a friend in a crisis, or anything else that took you out of the productivity groove it’s still important to realize and appreciate all of your hard work.
You do a lot every single day and you should thank yourself every single night!




Erin is known for her radiant energy, bright smile and willingness to get real.As a writer, life coach and Reiki Guide Erin is dedicated to supporting people in their journey to find clarity, direction and happiness. After moving past her own barriers to happiness she knew that she could help others though the same mindful yet bold approach she used to create a joyful, engaging life. Just recently she launched a video series: Creating Careers of Purpose that runs every Friday.

She believes in the importance of community, connection, compassion, and a good cup of coffee. 

Connect with her at Creative Soul in, through Twitter, and Facebook.

5 replies
  1. Jeanmarie Bills
    Jeanmarie Bills says:

    Thanks Erin for the great tips. My favorite is #6. So many times we forget all the things we have gotten done!

    • Erin Madore
      Erin Madore says:

      #6 is one that I’ve just started doing myself actually and it’s nice to lay in bed and think back over all I accomplished throughout the day – big and small.

      • Jeanmarie Bills
        Jeanmarie Bills says:

        I do the same- It is amazing how fast we discount what we have accomplished. This is a great way to stop and acknowledge our achievements.

  2. Gladys Diaz
    Gladys Diaz says:

    Thank you, Erin, for such a wonderful post! I sooo needed to read this after a very bust, but-not-quite-as-productive-as I-would-have-liked-week!


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