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How to take your work life from busy to productive

Written on Apr 18, 2024

By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager  

Being “busy” is almost worn like a badge of honor around the office, but just because someone is busy doesn’t mean they’re productive.  

“If we are talking day after day about how busy we are, we're giving the message not just to the world, but to ourselves, that we're stressed, overwhelmed and running on the hamster wheel,” said Elisabeth Galperin, executive business coach at Peak Productivity Coaching.   


Instead of focusing on packing your schedule, running from one meeting to the next and feeling busy all the time, Galperin said it’s much more sustainable for the long-term to focus on productivity. She’ll present a session on this topic at the upcoming Women, Wealth & Wellness Conference on July 18.  

When deciphering “busy-ness” from productivity, Galperin said to avoid falling into the trap that everything you do has equal importance. Consider what you want to accomplish each day or week and be able to separate the tasks that will have the most impact. Make those your priority.  

Avoid tying your productivity to how much time you spend at work. Find other ways to show your value beyond pointing at the clock and feeling satisfied because you logged off work late into the night.  

Because you might be so embedded in your work, it can be difficult to parse out what tasks matter the most. Galperin encouraged professionals to sit down with a colleague or manager to gain an outside perspective, look at everything and decide what’s most important.  

Making the shift from busy to productive won’t always be easy, Galperin said, and give yourself grace on the days when the scales tip in the favor of busy. But it’s still worthwhile to make the effort to focus on productivity in the long term, because this is where you will see real value and reward from your efforts.  

“While busy is definitely the catchphrase these days, what we're actually implying is nothing positive,” Galperin said. “On the flip side, being productive brings positive words and thoughts. Professionals tell me being productive means achieving goals, being accomplished and actively contributing.”  

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