“Focus on being productive instead of busy”

– Tim Ferris


Whether you are a professional, a small business owner, or an entrepreneur, being busy is a part of the business culture and chances are you are probably busy all the time. We are inspired by people like Gary Vee (Vayner Media) or Marissa Mayer (Yahoo) who attribute their success to working 100-120 hours per week. Hard work is glorified, sleep is overrated. And if you are not double-booked or over-committed, you probably don’t have a hustler’s mentality.  Being busy has become a badge of honor … or rite of passage.

There is no doubt success doesn’t come easy. It requires hard work, determination, and mad sacrifice. However, does it really take 15+ hour workdays, lack of sleep and constant stress and frustration to get where you want to be? Chasing every shiny opportunity and scheduling nonstop meetings will probably make one feel important, but most certainly not effective. I’ve quickly learned that activity doesn’t equal productivity and being busy doesn’t equal being effective.

Here are a few strategies to make 2017 your most Effective and Productive year ever:


  • Get your priorities straight

“Busy isn’t success, it’s a lack of priority” – Chase Jarvis

If you are constantly busy, you haven’t mastered the art of prioritization. We all have 24 hours each day. It’s what we use this time for that determines our schedule and eventual success. Start by setting your priorities for the following month, week, then for today. Make sure to begin the day with the most important tasks. And that’s not always easy to do since our most important tasks are often the most difficult ones, but you’ll feel more accomplished throughout the day.


  • Just Say “No”

“It’s only by saying “no” that you can concentrate on the things that are really important” – Steve Jobs

If you can’t give something 100% of your focus, maybe it isn’t worth doing in the first place. Though some opportunities are really hard to say “No” to, it is crucial to stay focused on one or two things that are the most important and eliminate everything that is non-essential at the moment. Play to your strengths and say “Yes” to less!


  • Strategic Renewal

“It’s not possible to move from one activity to the next at blinding speed and be reflective at the same time. The more complex and demanding the work we do, the wider, deeper and longer the perspective we require to do it well. It’s almost impossible to do that when we create no white space in our lives.”  – Tony Schwartz

Tony Schwartz is the author of Strategic Renewal Strategy. The main idea is though we can’t increase the number of hours we can work a day, we can increase the amount of energy we have. If you are constantly stressed and tired, your productivity levels fall. If you want to be effective, you need to learn how to relax and let go. “Time’s running fast, there’s no time to relax” concept is irrelevant if it prevents you from being productive. Stop running, take a pause, reflect and take control over your time and energy, not the other way around.

Think about the past 6 months. Have you been busy or effective? Have you accomplished everything important to you? If not, I challenge you to pause and think: why is that and what can be done differently? Got productivity secrets? Please share them in the comments section.


Kelly Leonard is a speaker, trainer, television show host/executive producer, and award-winning CEO.  Her company, Taylor-Leonard Corporation (T-LC) is a small, woman-owned training, information technology, and business development consultancy. With over 45 years of collective experience serving non-profits, Fortune 100 companies, federal, state, and local government, T-LC’s leadership team brings the best practices of global, multinational organizations to the marketplace.

Kelly actively supports dynamic organizations and programs through service projects, missions, and charitable giving.  Among the organizations and initiatives supported are Leadership Montgomery, Montgomery CollegeNehemiah Project, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes of Montgomery County. Beyond charitable giving, Kelly and her husband, Jerome, actively support their local church as marriage mentors and lead a Life Group for entrepreneurs and business leaders.

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