Activity VS. Productivity

Q: How have you been?

A: Good, busy.

Why is that interaction so common? Is everyone really that busy? We keep creating tools to make our lives easier, yet we never seem to have any more time. We have computers, cell phones, gas barbecues, google maps, rice cookers, mixers, Amazon, audio books, online banking, dishwashers…. The list goes on and on yet no matter what we do we are still just busy! Is this a perpetual state that is unavoidable, or can we do something about it?

I think what happens all too often is we confuse activity with productivity. How many days do you feel “busy” from the second you wake up until the second you go to bed but when you look back at the day you find that it wasn’t that productive? How is that possible if you were in perpetual motion all day? When I look back at days like this I have usually let the day run me instead of the other way around. These are the days where I run from thing to thing giving into every distraction. I have too much on my mind and I misplace my keys, or constantly forget things so I’m spending all day taking multiple trips instead of one had I just taking the time to think about what I was doing.

If you start to look for it, you will see yourself, and others, mistaking activity for productivity. At Moceri Construction this phenomenon is very obvious. We often have younger team members out in the field running around feeling very productive. Their activity level could not be higher, but they often have to run back to their truck to get a tool or make multiple cuts to get the right board length. The flip side is the experienced carpenter who is not nearly as active. They methodically move through the day going about their business. At the end of the day when you look back at who got more accomplished it is usually the experienced carpenter. As quickly as the young person moves with all their wasted movement it is hard to keep up the productive movements of the experienced carpenter. The other example that comes to mind is the over dribbling basketball player. They shake, they bake, they dribble all over the court but don’t really go anywhere. They have all this activity when the more productive movement would be to pass the ball.

Take the time to track your days. Are you mistaking activity for productivity? Are you as busy as you feel, or do you have wasted movements and distractions that make you feel busy? Replace that activity with productivity!

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