Join The Beyond Busy Mindset - A Community For "Busy" retail & business people leaders

Strategic vs. Productive:

Which Approach Is Most Effective For Personal and Professional Growth?

Which Approach Is Most Effective For Professional Growth
Leadership Coach in Sydney, Australia

by Howard Blackburn . Published September 21, 2021

How often have you thought – I was so productive today!

Often? Rarely? Everyday?

Reflection is a great thing and for almost a decade, productive was something I often found myself measuring in one way or another.

However, over the past 18 months, I have come to learn the enormous impact “being productive” has on people, culture & business leadership roles – in a negative way.

I often align productive with delivering on the “inputs” – emails, meetings, delegated tasks.

We often fail to realise however, that there are certain strategic choices we need to make if we want to maximise our productivity for the long-term.

  • You’re busy.
  • Your to-do list is piling up.
  • You run from meeting to meeting, with barely any time for a coffee in between.
  • You even have a passion project on the side, but haven’t found the time to work on it.

We’ve all been there. And if there were 27 hours in the day, that to-do list would probably be half the size.

For those out there who have smashed “to do” lists, or “ticked the boxes”, how often have you felt this “productive charge” but feel like you can’t get on top of your role?

This article by HBR  points to a bigger issue—most people are too busy to know if they’re actually being strategic and working on the right things.

Well, just like the addiction to “busy” – I have been in this very place too!

Scrolling through emails, ticking off to do lists, trying to please everyone. Before I knew it, I’d lose half a day and find myself not having played my role one bit.

How did I find a way to get beyond this roadblock?

Implementing a strategic approach to my role.

Sure, I tried 1000 things before this, but this approach provided the greatest impact.

This approach can guide us to not only streamline the key parts of our role but, more importantly, get greater results by focusing on the output and delivery of our roles vs the constant urge to “tick the boxes” and please others.

I shared earlier in this blog that I align productivity with delivering on the “inputs” – emails, meetings, delegated tasks.

Well on the other hand, I align strategic with a focus on what our role’s key deliverables are and how our day-to-day actions impact that “output”.

In short – If you are completing actions that don’t impact your roles output, something needs to change.

As leaders, it is so crucial to your longevity in any industry that you are able to finish your working week with your heads held high, knowing that you have performed in your role, having a positive impact on your team and your business.

So, if like I did, you believe you are extremely productive, yet can’t shake off work over the weekend and evolve beyond the culture of busy, the below is for YOU!

From my experience – There is 1 key factor impacting your ability to be strategic in your approach.

You aren’t playing YOUR role.

Often as leaders, we have played the roles of those who report to us in the past.

More so, we have been successful in these roles to get where we are today.

The challenge here is when times get tough for those who report to us, our natural instinct is to jump in to save them. The time we then allocate to playing someone else’s role – we don’t get back for our own.

Now, I am not saying that we leave our teams to handle everything on their own, but I am almost certain anyone reading this that can relate – has been in this exact scenario more than once and do not have a plan in place or solution to overcome this.

So you’re probably now wondering, how can I implement a strategic approach and play MY role?

Here are 5 tips designed to help you initiate, cultivate, and maintain personal & professional growth.  If you find yourself procrastinating or burnt-out, these tips may help! Because the truth is, you have a lot more control over the situation than you think.
Tip 1: Manage your energy, not your time. 

Take a moment and think about it, you’ll probably realise that you are better at doing certain tasks at certain times. What type of energy do you have in the morning? Afternoon? Evening? Determine what tasks each energy level and time of day are best suited for.

Tip 2: Start your working week off by planning– review, celebrate, adapt, engage.

Spend a few minutes organising your to-do list for the week. It takes only a few minutes and can save you almost 3 hours everyday.

Tip 3: Invest time to save time

Ensure quality time is allocated to coaching those direct reports early in the week – invest time to save time! Make sure to keep track of time — not in an obsessive way, but to monitor how long you’re spending on a certain task, determining if they need to speed up or start wrapping up and moving on to the next project.

Tip 4: Encourage mistakes

Sometimes our teams can feel scared as s*&t to make a mistake. From experience, some of the biggest lessons I have seen people learn from (including myself) have been from huge mistakes made in the past. Mistakes are normal, form a key part of our growth and should be embraced.

Tip 5: Stay organised

Make sure your work environment is de-cluttered and that everything has a place. Getting rid of clutter is the first priority. Once you have de-cluttered, you can then set up an organisational system that actually works for you.

Once you’ve decided what you want to do and how you will know you’re on track, the next challenge is follow-through.

Make a commitment to empower your team with the tools they need to measure their progress.

The above might seem scary, impossible and even a little uncomfortable – I believe you can truly achieve greatness in leadership by impacting and improving not only your own role, but impacting those around you by doing less, not more.

Ultimately – we all want to gain control of our time.

Control can be found in the outputs you deliver, not the inputs that you react to.

Happiness and success aren’t about ticking a series of boxes. This is your life and you have the power to reclaim it without abandoning your ambition!

Take control and start working towards what you want, your version of success and your vision.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the above and if you have any other great tips for people out there!

Take the first step towards discovering your pathway to thrive!

Pathrive supports clients in igniting their passion to excel.

Book your Free Pathway session today & take the first step towards discovering your pathway to thrive. This session is a great way for us to find out a bit more about what you’re hoping to achieve and more importantly whether this program is the right fit for you.

About Howard

Leadership Coach in Sydney, Australia

Howard Blackburn is an award-winning people leader, business mentor and empowerment coach in Sydney, Australia with over a decade of experience in leadership coaching & mentoring.

Howard has a passion for people and leadership development.

He started PATHRIVE to help empower people to evolve beyond the culture of busy and into balance.

Download Our App