Productivity Buster: Mistaking Activity for Accomplishment

By , Business Growth & Marketing Expert

Solo-E Certified Solo Entrepreneur Expert

Sandra P. Martini - Business Growth & Marketing Expert

A former client recently contacted me about working together again and, in asking a few questions about what she’s been up to, etc., I realized that for all the work she’s been doing (and she works a lot), she hasn’t been “done-ing” anything.

Now while “done-ing” certainly isn’t a word (yet), it does speak to the difference between working on a project so that you’re forever “doing” it and actually getting it “done”.

As small business owners and entrepreneurs dedicated to making our businesses a success, we need to be focused a lot more on the “done-ing” than the doing.

I was discussing this concept with a team member the other day and described it as the difference between “activity” and “accomplishment”:

Activity is where you’re busily doing things all day, doing, doing, doing, busy as a bee, flitting from one project to another.

Accomplishment, however, is where you’re laser-focused on a task or project either until it’s done or until you’ve spent your allotted time on it for that day (as in writing a book where it’s not your intent to finish it in one day).

You see “activity” everywhere in the corporate world: meetings, for example, are a hive of activity.

“Accomplishment” is a little more rare — those who accomplish stand head and shoulders above the crowd and, in the world of small businesses, to put it frankly, those who accomplish succeed.

Those who work a lot in their businesses and yet never seem to finish anything are destined for failure or, at best, mediocrity.

And even worse, what truly makes my heart break, are those who are trying and actually accomplishing things, but are done-ing the wrong things at the wrong time and so see no forward momentum, no increase in profits in their business.

Make It Real: My Request to You

While “done-ing” sounds as simple as “doing”, it actually takes several support mechanisms to keep it happening again and again.

Here are a few things I do to ensure more “done-ing” (and of the right things) and less continuous doing (which is essentially a version of procrastination):

    1.    Start off by creating a strategic marketing plan which is designed to take me to my goal (do in the timeframe which makes sense for you — for me, it’s an annual goal broken into quarterly mini-goals broken into monthly objectives broken into weekly targets broken into daily success actions).
    2.    Select a few items (actual number depends on size of project/task) and put them on my “Success Action List” for the day, then schedule a time to do them on my calendar — this allows for coaching calls and other appointments and ensures I don’t over schedule myself.
    3.    At the end of each day, prepare for the next day and review what actually got done versus what was planned to be completed — I run around 85% of plan depending on the day.
    4.    Each month, compare the number of “Done” items with the previous month and then compare the profit for both months — an increase in the “Dones” usually results in an increase in the profit.

And for those who think, I don’t have time to do this. . .truth is you don’t have time to NOT do it. The success of your business is at stake. What’s it worth to you?

Creator of Escalator Marketing, Sandra Martini specializes in showing small business owners how to create a business with multiple streams of revenue while living their lives.  Known for her "tell it like it is" yet nurturing approach, Sandy's clients benefit from her over 20 years in the start-up and marketing fields.

© Copyright 2009 Sandra P. Martini

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