How Being Busy Will Kill Your Productivity (free worksheet download)

Have you ever gotten to the end of a very long and busy day, looked back at it, and wondered what you actually accomplished?

Last week I had too many of those days in a row.

I hate that feeling more than almost anything else. Being busy and getting nowhere.

Have you ever felt that way before?

I would bet that I’m not alone. We’ve all gotten to a point in our work, life, or relationships where we’re super busy and accomplishing absolutely nothing. Its something very normal that can come after a season of productivity, or simply from responsibilities that continue to pile on top of us and force us into a non productive state.

The good news is that you don’t have to stay stuck if you’re willing to focus in on the exercise I am about to share with you for the next few minutes. A great mentor and friend of mine Doug shared this with me last year and I’ve been using it successfully every since.

Prioritize Your Projects

Success often comes down to not focusing on the right projects that will yield the highest results. Go grab a copy of this worksheet for yourself now. I removed a couple minor personal details, but you can see in the chart below that you can edit the green shaded cells:

priorities and opportunities

Step 1: List Your Projects

Start by listing up to seven projects / priorities in column A. If you have more than that then you need to choose the seven most important ones. Don’t try to fool yourself, seven is probably WAY too many as it is, but that is the maximum you should try to work on at once. I’m pretty ambitious and you can see that this will lead to me having to be very productive for 12+ hours per day.

Step 2: List Today’s Value and the Potential Value

Next list the value that you have from the activity already. Certain activities and projects are probably earning you money now. You can see in my example that my course has no value today but will be generating $3,000 a month if it reaches it’s full potential. Comparatively if you look at the personal sales work I do for Business Marketing Engine generates at least $10,000 per month in new business, but I want it to get to $20,000 per month in new business.

Take a moment and list out your values for each priority area and project. The today value and the potential value it could have in 90 days or less. I realize that you may not know the exact numbers for today, and you may not know what the real value will be in 90 days, but even a rough estimate will give you a better perspective. Take a quick stab at it now so you can continue working your way through this exercise.

Step 3: How Much Time and Money is Needed?

If you look at column D you’ll see that I listed the total hours required to accomplish my goal over the next 90 days. This is just an estimate as well, but it gives me a realistic look at the total time I’ll need to invest to be successful. I also list out the money I’ll need to spend on labor, advertising, and other expenses to reach the potential value. This then get’s broken down into a monthly amount as well.

Go ahead and do the same for your priority projects as well. Again – you may not have exact figures in mind and that is ok, just do your best to estimate the time and cost involved and fill in the numbers. You can easily adjust these later once you finish the entire exercise.

Step 4: Set the Priority of Each Task

In column H you can list out the priority of each project. I think that a scale of 1-5 is best for this because it makes it simpler to think about. Since I’m honestly a bit of a nerd you can see I put writing at priority zero but that’s just because it makes it sort to the top 🙂

I also make writing a priority for myself personally because it provides a lot of personal satisfaction and healthy self-therapy. Even if you’re not a great writer, or someone who enjoys writing right now, I’d recommend you take time and journal every day. It will make you healthier and stronger mentally and if you’re willing to be brave and share your thoughts on a public blog you’ll be surprised to see that other people feel just like you!

Once you fill out the priority of each project you can sort by priority so that you can start out your day working on the things that matter most. For me I set a priority based on a few different factors:

  • How important is this to my personal health and happiness? If I’m not healthy than I cannot be productive and serve and help others.
  • How profitable will this be? I can’t work on too many low profit ideas at once.
  • What is the long term value of this project?

There are many different ways to look at prioritizing projects, but that’s how I do it. Trust your gut and prioritize quickly. Don’t take too much time agonizing over this – just get it done so you can move forward!

Step 5: Do the Work

I know I’ve written and spoken about this many times before, but it’s the most important step after doing the work of thoroughly reviewing your projects. After I did this yesterday I was instantly more motivated because I had a plan. Today I am using my Pomodoro timer to track my progress and keep me motivated. Once you have your projects prioritized you will be able to do the same thing. You can see in the worksheet that it gives you the daily amount of hours you’ll need to spend to achieve your total hours goal for the project. Keep this in mind every day as you work and use two Pomodoro sessions to complete each hour.

The Incredible Value You’ll Create and Receive

The best part about going through this exercise is realizing the value you can create and receive. For sake of simplicity I estimated that each hour of focused work I can do will create $50 of value. You could probably adjust that up to $75-300 depending on your experience and specialty, but I honestly believe that every should value their work at a bare minimum of $50 per hour.

Looking at the chart above I know that I will at minimum create over $56,000 of value that will benefit those around me and myself personally if I can invest 1,100+ hours in my goals. In reality I know that I’ll create $250,000 to $500,000 of tangible value since I’ve done this before, but if this is your first time doing this, use the $50 per hour rule.

What do you think? Is this something that you can do every 90 days to refocus and achieve maximum productivity? Tell me what you think and please ask any questions you may have in the comments below. I’ll be doing a live training on this shortly to add to this post and I’d love to answer your questions live.