Productive Work – Important Parameter in Time Management

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Productive Work

1. Busy Work:

Just because you are busy does not mean that you are productive.  Differentiate between

  • Effectiveness  — doing the right things
  • Efficiency  — doing the right things correctly

2. Busy v Productive Work:

2.1 Problem No 1: Procrastination

Putting off doing the things that you should be doing at this point!


  • List all tasks that you are currently putting off
  • Remove two from the list by doing them now!
  • Plan and set a schedule for dealing with the rest
  • Reward when tasks are completed
  • Punish when tasks are not completed on schedule

2.2 Dealing with Indecision or Delay

When faced with a task – decide to deal with it according to one of the following actions:

  • Do it
  • Delegate it
  • Dump it
  • Deadline it
  • Dissect it

2.3 Problem No  2: Paralyzing perfectionism 

This is a failure to recognize the difference between excellence and perfection


  • Achievable
  • Healthy
  • Satisfying
  • Realistic


  • Unattainable
  • Frustrating
  • Unrealistic

2.4 Problem No  3: Setting unchallenging objectives 

Objectives need to be set that challenge you in a realistic manner and take heed of resource availability   Otherwise you are busy without any possibility of success

Use SMARTS criteria where the objectives are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound
  • Supported by the organization

3. Overwork:

Overwork can have effects that may be classified as

  • Psychological
  • Physiological

People are overloaded for two main reasons

  • The person or team does too much
  • The person or team have too much to do

To deal with over-work, try the following

  • Understand your pressures
  • Don’t get worked up or panicked
  • Don’t blame everything on yourself
  • Walk away
  • Estimate time as well as possible
  • Agree priorities and keep them
  • Remind yourself that there is a limited amount of time available to you

4. Urgency Vs Importance

Differentiating between

  • Urgent tasks – assume importance as they demand immediate attention
  • Important tasks – May become urgent if left undone and usually have a long term effect
  • To judge importance v urgency – gauge tasks in terms of Impact of doing them and effect of not doing them

5. Prioritization 

Prioritization Grid
Prioritization Grid

The main aim of prioritization is to avoid a crisis

To do this then you must

Schedule your Priorities

as opposed to

Prioritizing your Schedule

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