One of the things that I’m working on this year is learning the difference between being busy and being productive.
When I was in high school I had a job as an office intern. Being a teenager there really wasn’t much they could give me to do outside of what I felt was “busywork.” I hated it. I saw no point in doing work just for the sake of work and really wanted to get my hands into something that mattered.
Now that I’m “all growed up” and working for myself, I find that I still have this same problem. Only the task master this time is me.
I can fill a day up with duties and tasks faster than even I can imagine. Emails, Facebook marketing, program design, clients to train, blog posts to write, meetings and business strategies to evaluate all compete for my time. Even now, at the first of the year when business is decidedly down, and I thought I’d have more time to devote to back burner projects, I find myself struggling to find time for all I “need” to do.
Being busy is very easy to do. Being productive, however, is an entirely different matter. Being productive actually requires that you stop. Bring everything, the entire machinery of your operation, to a halt. From here you have to evaluate. Look at everything you’re doing and decide the return you get from it. Whether or not a given task is productive depends entirely on your values and the goals you’re trying to achieve. If the task promotes your goals and gets you closer to their achievement then it’s productive. If it’s not then it’s just a waste of your time, no matter how you otherwise feel about it.
Easy to say; harder to do.
So what am I trying to achieve? My primary goal has always been to provide for the security and welfare of my family. Thanks to an inheritance from my father I can relax a little about that. I’m by no means independently wealthy but I do have a bit of a cushion to allow me to regroup, reassess and re-establish my business goals and priorities. Money is still a priority but it’s not the highest anymore.
Secondarily, I have always wanted to continue to be able to train and improve myself. Strength and fitness have been the vehicles that have taken me out of drug addiction and mental poverty and opened me up to my own potential. By continuing to pursue these lessons, I can develop my ability to reach out and help others. It’s through this outreach that I can make money, but only if I have something of value to offer. Which means my primary goal has to be my own self development. It sounds selfish only when you ignore the fact that only by making myself the, to borrow a phrase, “strongest version of myself” can I show others how to do the same for themselves.
Part of this will mean being a bit more selective about who I take for clients. When money is your highest priority you’ll work with anyone willing to pay you. The downside is that sometimes you get clients who are either not ready for or not interested in what you have to offer. Instead of recognizing this and moving on, you struggle and bend to try and accommodate what it is they do want. What happens is you end up disappointing everyone. The client you’re trying to please will never be pleased and the clients who do want what you have end up getting shorted because you spent all your energy trying to please the others.
As such, my new focus is on the clients I currently have. All of you will see a renewed vigor in my approach to you and your programs. You’ll notice I’ve been asking you about goals and helping some of you set short term goals to help us gain focus and direction. Maintenance is no longer part of our programming. Agoge Fitness Systems is about improvement. We can always find ways to become better.
New clients will go through a screening process. The first workout will always be free, but I will use this time to evaluate the new prospect just as much as they are evaluating me. If I don’t recognize a good fit, rest assured I will find you a more appropriate trainer here at Lakeview Personal Fitness. The remainder of my time will be spent pursuing my relationships with other trainers and mentors, namely Elliott Hulse, Mike Westerdal, Chris Dwelle and Larry Berry. These relationships feed me personally, professionally and, hopefully in the future, monetarily.
I will also spend more time writing. I take pleasure in my writing and I think it is another vehicle to my self development.
I’m currently reading Why You’re Dumb, Sick and Broke by Randy Gage. In it he talks about how societal messages from mass media, government and religion implant mental viruses into our subconscious. These messages compete with your conscious desires and ultimately win out, often prompting us to unwittingly sabotage our efforts to succeed. Rooting out these subconscious precepts takes time and effort. Writing will give me the opportunity to ferret out exactly what I think about myself and learn how to stop being my own worst enemy. Again, maybe in my process I can be helpful to others.
So, these are the steps I’m taking to become more productive and less busy. Do me a favor, will you? Every once in a while, ask me how it’s going.