It is unbelievable how busy people are these days.

Trying to get their time can be next to impossible. It isn’t that they don’t want to talk, it is just that they are too busy.

Staff meetings, Coffee meetings, forecast meetings, meetings to plan meetings and meetings to review earlier meetings. Then of course we have to draft meeting notes and schedule follow ups to the meeting we just finished up.

After we wipe the sweat off our brow we feel we have earned a break from all this hard work and busyness.

At some level we all judge our productivity a little bit on how “Hard” we work. Often being evaluated merely by how much activity we engage in rather than how much we are getting done.

I believe everyone is susceptible to this. I have caught myself on several occasions throwing out the busy card as my rationale for not being able to accomplish certain things.

But in itself busy doesn’t mean anything if what we are busy doing isn’t what we need to be doing which should stop us all in our tracks so we can ask ourselves…

What are we so busy doing, and further does it make a bit of difference in the bigger picture?

Last week this became the hot topic when the internet exploded as Marissa Mayer banned telecommuting within Yahoo.

While everyones reaction to the decision varied a little bit, what came through was that people overall didn’t feel that being tied to an office was the catalyst for great results.

As we come to find out, it is actually the results that all of our organizations are after, and therefore we have to be careful as to how we use our time to accomplish as much as possible.

But no matter how much I hear this, I continue to see people leading the “busy” life.

In recent years we have had books like “The 4 Hour Work Week,” that have taken the effective vs. busy debate to the extreme. For most, no matter how nice a 4 hour work week seems, it isn’t all that achievable. However, if we can make the most of the time we spend doing whatever it is that we do, we could probably make the 40, 50 or “Insert Your hours” that we spend working way more effectively.

While being busy is good (or at least it makes us feel good), it really isn’t a leading indicator as to whether or not you or those that work for and with you are actually getting anything done.

So rather than being busy having meetings to plan our next meeting, let’s get to the root of making things happen.

Here are 6 questions to ask yourself as you fill up your calendar to make sure you are setting yourself up to be not only busy, but productive too!

  1. What are the most important things that need to be accomplished during the time period “at large?”
  2. What are the key activities that will allow me to achieve these goals?
  3. Have I set sufficient time aside to work on these activities?
  4. Are there activities on my calendar that aren’t going to help me get what is most important done?
  5. Can I shift the less important calendar items to a later date, delegate them or remove myself altogether?
  6. At the end of this time period what do I expect to have accomplished?

At the end of the day, your results are going to speak loudest. And while running around from meeting to meeting will give the perception of busy to those around you, the ultimate mark of your success will be what you can accomplish, not how busy you appear to be.

So start respecting the outcomes you are seeking by asking yourself the right questions and by spending your time chasing outcomes instead of activity.

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Daniel Newman

Founder and President at Broadsuite, Inc.
After 12 years of running technology companies including a CEO appointment at the age of 28, I traded the corner office for a chance to drive the discussion on how the digital economy is going to forever change the way business is done. I'm an MBA, adjunct business professor and 2x author of best-selling business books including "The Millennial CEO" and "The New Rules of Customer Engagement." Pianist, soccer fan, husband and father, not in that order. Oh and for work...I'm the co-founder of V3B [Broadsuite], a marketing firm specializing in the digital space, helping companies be found, seen and heard in a cluttered digital world.
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