Are you productive or just busy? I hear so many work at homers talk about how busy, busy, busy they are. But busy doing what? There is a very distinct difference between being busy and being productive. That may be a blinding glimpse of the obvious to some, yet so many continue to be busy, busy, busy and don’t have the bottom line to show for it.
I wonder why some people are not productive. Do you think it may be because they simply do not know what to do? Or perhaps because what they should be doing may be out of their comfort zone? Or is it so that they feel they are making a contribution to the household if they are busy all day?
One WAHM told me that she was so busy all the time with her business and then she told me that she made about $250 commission a month. The way she talked, she was working her business like she would a full time job. That being so, 160 hours a month divided by $250 is $1.56 per hour. Not sure I would be bragging about being so busy while earning $1.56 per hour.
Non-income producing tasks are a necessary evil for all business owners. Yet when the non-income producing duties far exceed the income producing responsibilities, it is really time to reevaluate if you truly want to have a business or are merely content with a hobby. (If it’s the latter, that is perfectly acceptable – but then it is really not a business, is it?)
Is checking forums repeatedly throughout the day really necessary? Or would popping in on a limited number of forums and networks once or twice a the day suffice? How many times a day do you check Twitter? (Don’t want to miss a status update, do you?) What about Facebook? You would hate to be tardy in filling out 25 Things About You!
Another big time sucker can be your own company or team sponsored consultant forums. While it is wonderful to have camaraderie among other consultants, those folks are not your customer base! Stop in if you have a question or if you want to see if any of your own team members may be confused about something but then get the heck out of there. You won’t find any potential new recruits hanging out in the company consultant forum!
One simple litmus test with each activity is to ask yourself: “Is this the best use of my time?” If the answer is yes – then good for you. If the answer is no, then you have two choices: do something more productive or continue to do whatever it is you’re doing, but at least acknowledge that you’re not being productive. You may find that this one straightforward question changes the way you work on your business.
Tara Burner says
EXCELLENT info as always Laurie.
So many people get sucked in with time wasters…
I’ve had to pull back myself from some time wasters.
Wish more people would take the time to actually figure out how much they’re earning compared to the time ‘wasted/spent’ on non productive activities.
If it’s not making you money, then don’t focus/spend time on it.
Amy Jo Garner says
I actually had someone tell me that if you work for yourself you don’t get paid by the hour and should not use that as a benchmark! Sorry, but I expect a healthy return on my efforts and I do quantify it by the hour. The gal making $250 might as well go work at Mickey D’s part time.
Laurie…I love this article…this is so very true!
Great article Laurie.