Home Reflections Busy Or Productive?

Busy Or Productive?

by Vidya Sury July 11, 2014 13 comments
busy or productive

Some days I am end up wondering whether I am busy or productive.

Can you see the difference?

A zillion little tasks fill my day, along with the interruptions I have no control over. I am flooded with emails, phone calls, breaks I do not need, emergencies that were really not emergencies after the time had been wasted and heaven knows what else.

Do you go through this busy or productive dilemma?

I am sailing through days like these. So much to do, so little time, it seems. If only there were more hours in the day, I am thinking.

Obviously that’s not going to happen, so I must find a way to use my guaranteed credit of 86,400 seconds wisely.

Sadly while busy leaves me tired, it does not always mean I achieved what I meant to. Too often, I ended up spending time on unproductive things that kept me busy. Endless phone calls and visitors. Unwelcome repair work. Falling sick.

The irony is, this lulled me into a false sense of achievement that only resulted in stress and a solid waste of time. As though this was not enough, my to-do list seemed to have a mind of its own and kept growing.

Where to cut down? I am childish enough to adamantly want to go walk on my terrace even when it is raining heavily. That cold breeze is so refreshing! And the kites flying in the sky are infinitely more attractive than my computer screen. I refuse to say no when someone asks me for help. Somewhere in my mind, I am convinced I am superwoman. I am, right?

The problem is – I can’t seem to figure out how to prioritize as everything is moving to the emergency list.

I’ve barely managed to punch out a blog post every day before I shut down my computer and groaned when my back protested as I lay on my bed.

I am taking stock  at various points through the day. I am reflecting and re-prioritizing so that I can feel a real sense of achievement, which in turn, will help me be more productive. Then, I’ll celebrate what I did manage to achieve and use this energy to motivate me to continue to do it.

Oh yes, I will pause for a moment to think about who else was involved in helping me be more productive so I can thank them.

So it all boils down to setting priorities, remaining flexible and taking stock at the end of the day so I can strike that elusive balance between being busy and actually being productive.

Now, sustaining this is quite another matter.

Here’s my plan to tackle the busy or productive dilemma

I’ll set up priorities for tomorrow by listing all that I want to get accomplished
I’ll track my progress by sticking to this plan.
I’ll stay flexible – after all, there will be unexpected interruptions.. oh yes!.
I’ll make a note of these unexpected items that crop up during the day
I’ll especially note down the distractions that rob my time
At the end of the day, I’ll think back and celebrate what I accomplished
I’ll make a list of what didn’t/couldn’t get done today
I’ll make tomorrow’s list

For today, I am reflecting over

  • whether I finished my day tired or rejuvenated
  • ways to re-energize myself when I am tired at the end of the day
  • how to find the time to reflect and evaluate the day
  • the value of what I did today
  • what I can do tomorrow to re-energize my life

I’ll keep my diary posted on my progress.

Oh, miles to go before I sleep.

“Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!”
– Tony Robbins

How are you managing your time?

I hope you’re taking the time to smile. ♥


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Sheethal July 11, 2014 at 2:08 am

Every morning I wake up, I go through this dilemma. Work phase… I do make notes and plan out. But day to day life… or blogs I just go along with the flow… and that ends uo to be unproductive at times…

Michelle Stanley July 11, 2014 at 3:24 am

You wrote a terrific article Sury. There are times I’m also busy but unproductive,or busy working and don’t set time for other important tasks. I like the plans you’ve made to change these setbacks. Thanks for motivating me too.

Suzie Cheel July 11, 2014 at 4:11 am

Dear Vidya,
well you too 🙂 Since I started the Gratitude challenge and the blog challenge alongside I am working on a way to be more productive- maybe we could become buddies for this so we both truly shine
Suzie Cheel recently posted…Day 9: Heart Whisper Gratitude Challenge: Go Within To Find Your Heart’s Desire

Laurel Regan July 11, 2014 at 4:45 am

I’m not the world’s greatest at time management – I get far too distracted by the internet and that extra hour or so of sleep in the morning. 🙂
Laurel Regan recently posted…I should have been a Millennial

Beloo Mehra July 11, 2014 at 9:52 am

Yes, that’s a tough one for many of us! I too am not good at managing time, and often find at the end of the day that I have hardly done anything that can be called “productive”. But then I start reflecting on what is really productive. Is simply being and paying attention to how one’s mind wanders around all sorts of so-called silly things non-productive really? Or does it help me become aware of the wrong patterns of my mind? And then another round of reflection starts 🙂 But I understand that there has to be some self-discipline to get the things done that are important and that must be done. There is no real inner or outer progress without that. Just yesterday evening I gave myself a deadline for finishing this work I have been doing, I hope starting today I will be able to make good progress with it so that I can do it in the time I have allowed myself. Lets see 🙂 God willing, it should be done! Thanks Vidya for a timely reminder!
Beloo Mehra recently posted…Mantra of Protection

Huma July 11, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Hi Vidya, Nice article… Setting priorities realistically is of utmost importance…

Huma July 11, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Hi Vidya, Nice article…time management is a skill that improves with practice.
Huma recently posted…Coal smoking food for flavour

Rahul July 11, 2014 at 1:32 pm

We all keep living with this dilemma but the fact remains that certain things must be done, a few things can wait and for the rest go with the flow and enjoy the beauty of this world as one would like to spend the time! You heard, Sharukh Khan, who said … those who do nothing, do wonders:)

Fab July 11, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Tell me about it!! It’s Ramzan which automatically means less sleep and less energy. And we’re planning to move into our new flat soon, and there’s a lot of work to be done there. Then there’s all the writing and my son and my recently bereaved Father in Law – 24 hours in a day are not at all enough!!!! Like you, I’m going to have to set down a solid prioritizing system!
Fab recently posted…Website Review: Babyoye.com

Susan Gourley July 11, 2014 at 7:11 pm

LOL, as I should be writing, I’m following a link on twitter to your blog post. I am very busy but exactly as you say, I’m often not productive. Getting better at setting priorities.

Debbie July 11, 2014 at 7:40 pm

I was exhausted after just reading this, Vidya! 😀 My old boss used to say “I know you work hard, but are you working smart?” It sounds like you have a good plan for improvement there. Time management isn’t my greatest strength, especially once I get on the computer, but I have the luxury (most of the time anyway), of being able to “go with the flow”. Hope you days get a little easier.
Debbie recently posted…MOURNING THE END OF AN ERA

Susan Scott July 11, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Great post Vidya thank you! I often wonder how it is that I am exhausted after being so busy, but little has been achieved by way of eg the WIP. Sometimes life runs smoother that at other times and it’s a joy to cross off those lists and more lists ..
Time is to be valued … thank you for this reminder …
Susan Scott recently posted…Ouroborus – the snake that bites its own tail

My Inner Chick July 12, 2014 at 12:34 am

Want to know a secret?

you. are. superwoman!

Love you more than kittens bathing in Lake Superior.

BTW, I love the idea of seeing colorful kites in the sky!

My Inner Chick recently posted…I Was Blind, But Now I See


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