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Are You Productive or Just Busy?

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British historian and public administration scholar C. Northcote Parkinson wrote, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Known as Parkinson’s Law, it is the reason you may often feel busy, but not productive.

Busyness is filling time; productivity is using time. Busy people expend effort, but have little to show for it. Productive people expend effort that produces results. Success is the by-product of productive effort. In my ten years of coaching business people, and now leading the Buffini & Company Coaching department, I’ve notice three things that all productive people have in common—they narrow their focus, simplify and measure.

Narrow Your Focus

While busy people have many things competing for their attention, productive people give most of their attention to very few things by prioritizing.

Prioritization starts with clear goals. Be clear about what you want to accomplish. When you narrow your focus, you will use your time for what is important and become more productive as a result.


While busy people tend to over-complicate things, productive people simplify. Simplification is a process of elimination. The key is to identify what is essential and either eliminate or delegate the rest. When you narrow your focus and simplify, you concentrate your energy. You’ll find you get more done in less time.


If you want to be productive you must track your time, your activities and your results. Management expert Peter Drucker and efficiency expert Edwards Deming have both famously said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Tracking your activity gives you power. It gives you the power to manage, and improve and adjust. It allows you to see what is working and what is not. It allows you to narrow your focus and simplify even more.

So, what’s your action plan?

First, lean into your Coach (or get one if you don’t already have one). One of the true values of a Coach is outside perspective. So, ask your Coach to help you to clarify your goals, narrow your focus and find where you may be overcomplicating things.

Second, lean into (or begin using) ReferralMaker CRM. We have seen time and time again, our Members who use ReferralMaker CRM are far more productive than those that don’t. The Referral Intelligent Technology helps you narrow your focus and automatically tracks your results to activity. ReferralMaker will make you more productive and less busy.

There are a million things you could do each day. You will have no trouble filling your time with work. But, if you’re intentional, if you narrow the focus, simplify and measure you will be using your time productively in no time at all.

Read the full article in the latest issue of Buffini & Company Magazine.


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