Be productive, not busy.

Well that sounds easy enough, right? Well, it ain’t! Let me tell you that the majority of people are always busy but very few are in fact being productive. As I am trying to work towards my life and professional goals, the difference is more clear by the day. I need to organize my time effectively to do all the things that I need to do and often times you find yourself doing things that are not necessary nor productive… you know like binge watching Neftlix kinda stuff? Hey, it happens because hello I am human! But how often it happens and how much time do you allow it to go for, are some of the things you want to pay attention for you to switch from busy to productive.

I am currently in the midst of an internal evolution. I am almost 32 years old and I haven’t accomplished all the things I have on my goals list so is time to change that. Any plans or desires you have are just dreams until you write them down. Once you write them down create a SMART (Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Realistic. Timely) plan to achieve those. So I have been spending time doing just that. Writing down plans for every goal I have. And I have spent a lot of time modifying bad habits which believe you me, it is hard to do. And as this process unfolds, I am changing my paradigms and principles to be highly effective. As a result, I feel happier with every detail of my life, perfect or not, because I know what to appreciate and what to change. This life changing experience has also made me aware of where my time and energy goes into. Which is why I wanted to share with you because I want you to be happy too.

Last Monday was a holiday here in the US, President’s Day, and while most of my team took the day off, a few of us were working. Throughout the day I received very few requests and I knew it would be a slow day work-wise, so what to do? Catch up on the novela on Netflix? Head to the mall for some good deals on President’s Day Sale? Create more boards on Pinterest? I am sure I could have done any of that but I decided that I need to be proactive with my time so it was best if I made a productive use of it and use for something I really needed to do. So I split the spare time into two and I used half of it to continue to schedule meetings my team needed for later this year and I used the other half to study for my midterm exam which was the following day. I was in fact busy Monday but my time was been used productively and that is a huge win for me not just for the day but in the long run because I needed to schedule those meetings and I also need good grades in my class.

Sure this requires asking yourself the question: what do I want to do now and how would that impact my future? It would have been fun to catch up on the novela and shopping can be fun too but I can watch the novela another time when I really have some spare time and I don’t really need to shop because you’re taking to frugal Mama Bear now and she is on savings mode! So as you can see, some of the options I had were acceptable but it wasn’t the best use of my time. That’s one of the things that I consider now all the time. I used to spend a lot of time on Facebook before. I wanted to make sure I was “up to date” with everyones status updates and not miss a thing. But in reality, knowing which one of my friends had a workout or who had what for lunch/dinner aren’t really things on the top of my list of priorities. Sure is nice to cheer someone for working out or get inspired by someone else’s food, but I refrain myself from spending too much time doing that now unless I really truly have the time for it. Does this mean that your traffic on FB will decrease? Probably. But rather think where else can you focus this time. Reflect about your day: which things are necessary? Which things are just a waste of your time? Which things can be done later? Sort things out, put first things first, and start working on your plans.

Now be aware that having plans is just a footprint of what we need to do to achieve something. But more often than not, you will need to modify them because that’s what life is about. Our needs, our priorities, our wants change. You need to modify accordingly so you continue to do only the things that are meaningful to you and help you stay productive. I am not telling you cut off FB from your life, or skip happy hour with your friends, or acquire additional responsibilities in the form of homework, or to skip your mani/pedi appointment. I am telling you to make a list of things that are important to take you to the next step. Whether you want a promotion, save for a down payment of a new home, improve your credit score, whatever that might be. Make a plan to achieve your goal and as you go about your day work on the things that will bring you to that goal first and then add any additional stuff you want like family/friends time, me-time, leisure time. I have no doubt that if you do so, you will see those plans become a reality in no time. Just as our Greek buddy Aeschylus said: “Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times.” Make the effort to focus your energy on the things that matter and happiness will follow.

Good luck with planning and staying on track. Stay productive!


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