Productive vs. Busy (aka how to point out time leeches!)

Do you often find yourself saying “I am so busy!”.  This can be a great thing when it comes to your blog/business because it means you’re really getting things accomplished!

...or does it?

Busy and Productive are two words that people often misconstrue.  They think that they are being productive because they’ve been busy working on different tasks all day, but in reality if those tasks aren’t related to bringing in coins or growing your audience, was it really a good day in the lab?

Today I will be discussing productivity, how to recognize result oriented tasks , and how to avoid wasting time on tasks that are just "busy work" (AKA time leeches).


I used to find myself getting caught up working on things that weren't really important. Sure, every task has a purpose, but it's easy to find yourself working on non-essential things and when you look back on the day you find that nothing of significance was completed.

Examples of this:

  • Redesigning your site header

  • Creating custom social media icons

  • Tweaking email marketing templates

  • Creating non-essential sidebar images

  • Designing a custom email signature

Can you relate?

I'm not saying that these tasks aren't important, but they may not need as much time dedicated to them as some other vital tasks on your To-Do list. Ultimately, you need to evaluate if the task is going to directly help you accomplish your main goals or bring in some cash. At day's end, you may feel like you have done so much...but did any of it really matter? Sure, you may have worked on customizing your social media icons for two hours and placed them in your sidebar, but do the social media accounts that they're linked to have current posts in the feed? Which is more important, having current items on your feed or having a cute image linking people to an inconsistent feed?

This is all to say...

“Being busy isn't something to celebrate, producing results is.”

Here are a few more examples of Busy Work (aka time suckers):

  1. Posting content to a social media platform where your audience isn’t largely active.

  2. Designing a new email header

  3. Growing your email list with no retention plan (i.e. never emailing them again after they join your list or seldom emailing them)

  4. Planning out content but never completing the content or even starting it

Now here are examples of Goal-Based Work (aka money makers):

  1. Goal: Growing your email list
    Various tasks related to this goal:

    • Performing Market Research to find out what your audience struggles with

    • Creating an amazing lead magnet to offer on your site that solves one of their major struggles (a checklist, workbook, free webinar, etc.)

    • Creating an email funnel to ultimately pitch a product/service to your email list

  2. Goal: Gaining more website traffic

Various tasks related to this goal:

  • Researching SEO (search engine optimization) techniques and applying them to your website

  • Directing social media traffic to your website through Live’s, IG Stories or feed posts (not via Linktree - here’s why not and what to do instead)

  • Setting up Ads to your products/services

3. Goal: Collaborating with brands
Various tasks related to this goal:

  • Updating your website to be clean, professional and cohesive

  • Providing valuable info on your blog consistently

  • Staying active on social media and engaging with your audience on a personal level (brands are starting to care more about engagement on social media than they are about follower counts)

  • Creating a media kit

  • Pitching companies that you want to collaborate with

4. Miscellaneous tasks that are goal-based:

  • Designing a sales page for a product/service

  • Taking product photos for product listings on your website

  • Setting up an automated task to complete work on your behalf (automation creates more time to work on your goal-based tasks!)

  • Setting up a client scheduling page

  • Creating an onboarding and offboarding client workflow

These example goals and accompanying tasks are directly related to money making or a bigger goal, so they aren’t a waste of time.

Now you may be wondering how to tackle non-essential tasks since they need to be completed at some point, right? A simple solution is to schedule a block of time to work on the "busy work" all at once (AKA Batching). I would suggest only two hours a week maximum. You can spread this out over a few days or you can do it all in one sitting.

The takeaway here is that all tasks for your blog/biz are important, but some of them are just a lower priority. Before you start something, stop and ask yourself, "Is this busy work or productive work?". This strategy has really been helpful for me since I am easily distracted and get off track sometimes!

Another great way to recognize if a task is goal oriented or not is to actually define what your main blog/business goals are and determine if the task will get you that much closer to accomplishing it.  By choosing what the goal is for your blog/biz, you can focus on it so much easier and recognize when something is just a leech.

(Related blog post: 5 Ways to Start Blogging With a Purpose)

Now that you know how to recognize goal-oriented tasks, do you want to know how to increase your productivity level so you can knock out those tasks more effectively?  I have a 16 page workbook that walks you through 6 ways to increase your productivity along with worksheets to help you plan it all out!