Week 24: Are You Productive - Or Just Busy?
June 8, 2008
To be sure this e-newsletter arrives in your inbox each week, add email@example.com to your address book or approved list of senders.
Welcome and Announcements
Welcome to our 147 new subscribers since last week!
In the News
Our special offer this month is the Listen to Your Life, Then Follow Your Destiny package which includes three of Valorie's teleclasses, the Listen to Your Life DVD, and two books for only $219 (reg. $364 if purchased individually - a savings of nearly 40% off!) To purchase, visit http://valorieburton.com/catalog.php?item=37&catid=Specials.
Washington, DC Event
Join me on Saturday, June 14th at 9:00am for the Girls, Inc. Health and Wellness Summit for which I will be the keynote speaker. The event will be held at Howard University's School of Social Work and is catered specifically to young ladies and their caregivers. We invite you to bring a young girl or teen to this special event. For more information, call (202) 296-0613.
Have a question for Valorie?
Tune in to "Wellness Wednesdays with Valorie Burton," a weekly half-hour radio segment in which Valorie discusses life strategies and coaches audience members towards success at work and home. In the Washington, DC area, tune in at 7:25 am to 1580 AM or worldwide, listen live at www.heaven1580am.com. Call with your questions and Valorie will coach you live on the air!
Join my network of friends on Myspace at
This Week's Topic: Are You Productive - Or Just Busy?
I began Monday so organized: Up at 5 am with a clear vision for the week ahead. But by Thursday morning, I realized I'd been busy all week, but most of the vision was still on my to-do list. Even as a life coach, I have my days when I need a dose of my own advice. :) Have you ever had a week when you were busy doing stuff, just not the stuff that needs to get done? It is a frustrating feeling, and if you don't notice it while it is happening, you can create a backlog of projects on your to-do list. Perhaps it describes how you feel right now.
Fortunately, I finished my week on a productive high note by using some practical coaching strategies. This week, I'd like to share them with you. As I discuss in my latest book, How Did I Get So Busy?, there is a big difference between being fruitful and productive, and being busy. When you're busy, you are doing a lot, but not a lot of what actually needs to get done! The keys to getting unstuck when you are in a rut of not being productive are: 1. Admit that you're stuck.
Acknowledge your stagnancy. Until you notice and acknowledge that something's not working, there is no problem to fix. So rather than continuing to sit at your desk as though you're getting something done or pretending that the clutter you're clearing is something more than a procrastination ploy, be honest. When you acknowledge that you're having trouble focusing, you can finally address the issue. 2. Breathe.
Take a break from your environment or just step away for a moment to regain perspective. Identify and state where you want to refocus your energy. Remember that words are powerful, so say out loud what you intend to do and why it is so important to you. This intentional change in your thoughts can lead to more productive actions. 3. Coach yourself by asking three, critical questions:
What is the smallest step I could take that would result in a big impact?
Often, there is a small step you can take to get the ball moving again. It is an action or task that will give you momentum. Perhaps it's a phone call that needs to be a made, an important email you've been procrastinating about, or a decision you need to finally make. You know what it is. Start small, but start now.
What's keeping me from being productive?
Maybe your expectations of what you can accomplish in a day are too high, or you're distracted by something that's been heavy on your mind. Perhaps you haven't been specific enough about your goals, so your next step is too fuzzy for you to truly focus. Get clear about what's impeding your productivity, then ask yourself this next question ...
What can I do right now to remove that obstacle?
You may have to eliminate some of the to-do's on your list and replace them with a more important to-do - putting things in place that will help you be more productive. Whether it's a family meeting or an office meeting to lay out a new way of doing things, some time off for some much need rest and relaxation, lay the groundwork for productivity. Whatever you identified as your obstacle, make a plan to remove it - immediately.
My challenge to you:
Notice when you're busy, but not productive. Then follow these three steps to get out of the rut.
In what ways are you pretending that you are productive, when there is an important priority you are struggling to accomplish? What small step could you take that would help you move forward and build momentum? What's causing you to be unproductive and what could you do to remove that obstacle.
My latest book, How Did I Get So Busy? The 28-Day Plan to Free Your Time, Reclaim Your Schedule and Reconnect with What Matters Most, is a guide to help you be more fruitful and productive. Check it out at
Until next time ...
P.S. Encourage your friends and family by sharing this newsletter and invite others to subscribe! Just send them to www.valorieburton.com, where they can enter their email address on the home page.
Valorie Burton, a life coach and speaker, is the author of Listen to Your Life, Rich Minds, Rich Rewards, What's Really Holding You Back?, Why Not You? and her latest, How Did I Get So Busy? The 28-Day Plan to Free Your Time, Reclaim Your Schedule and Reconnect with What Matters Most. Subscribe to her FREE, inspirational e-newsletter at www.valorieburton.com.
Please feel free to forward the Rich Minds, Rich Rewards E-Newsletter to friends and colleagues, but please forward in its entirety. The Rich Minds, Rich Rewards E-Newsletter is written and distributed by Inspire, Inc. Copyright (c) 2008 Valorie Burton. All rights reserved. www.valorieburton.com.