Be Less Busy And More Productive

Busy-cover2Marketing Podcast with Tony Crabbe

I think a lot of entrepreneurs fall into the trap of being busy and calling it being productive. Busy is really easy – productive is really hard.

Busy is checking email, reading Facebook and listening to podcasts. Now, some of that may actually be productivity inducing, but real productivity is probably more like focusing on important strategic relationships, finishing that new product or completing the proposal for that new client.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Tony Crabbe, business psychologist and author of the new book Busy: How to Thrive in a World of Too Much. We discuss his new book and how to avoid the distractions of modern work.

Technology and social networks certainly make it easy to lose the focus on your highest payoff work so it’s important to build habits that support priorities over busywork.

Questions I ask Tony:

  • Are we really busier than ever or does it just seem that way?
  • How can someone manage time better?
  • What about social media, how does that affect us psychologically?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How technology makes you feel busier and under more pressure
  • How these trends in behavior and technology affect productivity
  • How to analyze and prioritize your tasks to be more productive

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is brought to you by Sidekick by Hubspot. Duct Tape Marketing Podcast listeners can get a free month by visiting

My Daily Productivity Routine

gagilas via Flickr

I’ve been accused over the years of getting a lot done in a day. So much so that the assumption is I don’t sleep much. But, the truth of the matter is that I don’t really work that many hours at all (Okay, I know that’s relative, I work more than some, but I love it.). I’ve developed my own little routine, aided by some technology, which allows me to stay very productive.

Now, I don’t always get to live my perfect work day, but just for grins I thought I would share my routine and some thoughts on productivity.

So, here goes:

  • 5:30 am – Rise and shine – coffee first – meditate – read something that inspires
  • 6:00 am – Write and amplify daily blog post
  • 7:00 am – Empty inbox – I don’t check email until after I’ve worked on something for at least an hour – I adhere to GTD rules on email – if it takes 2 minutes or less deal with it, delegate or create action step for later – I’ll deal with emails again at 10, 2, and 4
  • 7:30 am – Exercise – mix of running, biking, yoga, and strength – goals is 5-6 times a week – this is one of the biggest payoffs in terms of energy and productivity
  • 8:30 am – Breakfast – just like mom said – best meal of the day
  • 9:00 am – Daily reading routine – this is RSS feed, magazines, and random exploring
  • 10:00 am – Head to office tackle to do list – I focus on the list in 90 minute chunks and take routine breaks to stretch or do something physical. I also have drink 32 oz of water during each chunk. I have a stand-up desk and try to spend at least an hour during the workday standing instead of sitting. I’ve noticed that I have intra day cycles where I’m most productive – 10-Noon and 3-5 are my most productive hours and I schedule most meetings in the first period and most of my creative work in the 3-5 period. I usually eat a snack around now. I avoid phone meetings as much as I can – it’s not that I’m anti social, there’s a place for meetings, just not in place of a well-written email that accomplishes the same.
  • 11:00 am – Meet with staff to go over projects and action steps
  • Noon – I get out of the office to eat lunch – my office is in a commercial area and I can grab lunch with a ten minute walk.
  • 1pm – 5pm – Back at the to do list in 90 minute chunks, with some meetings mixed in. This is where I do power writing on projects or create slide decks for presentations and products.  Try to eat a healthy snack around 3pm
  • 5pm – 6pm – Inbox zero, recap the day and map out tomorrow’s to do list. I also review my big plans and goals list just to make sure I stay focused on high level thoughts.
  • Unless I am working on a book, as I am right now, I stay unplugged all evening and generally choose to read something unrelated to work, but I must admit, my mind does have a tendency to apply everything to work.

I don’t know if this is helpful or not and I’m certainly not suggesting this is perfect, but I do think the act of conscious planning, energy monitoring and use of rhythmic patterns of work keeps me focused and enjoying the ride all day long.

So, what’s your routine look like?