Are You Having a Productive Day, or Just a Really Busy One?


I love to procrastinate and then believe I’m being productive when I’ve waited until the last minute to get stuff done.

It’s Friday, and I absolutely do not feel like writing a new blog post at this very moment. So what do I do? I’ll do absolutely anything else first before I come to terms with the reality that it’s not going to write itself. For situations like this, I have to ask myself if I’m being productive or just getting through my to-do list because I’m procrastinating.

That’s why I decided to talk about what it means to procrastinate and turn that into productivity. We’ve all done it at some point: spend a lot of time avoiding the stuff we need to do and instead focus on the small stuff that’s easy. Then we end up having to deal with the important stuff at the last minute, which creates chaos for us and everyone around us. And somehow, we might convince ourselves that’s just the way we are. Not so!!!

Once you get into a habit of creating this kind of work environment, it can feel like something deeply ingrained in your psyche. It’s our inability to separate our habits (the ones that may be working against us) from our personality traits (the way we navigate our environment) that allows procrastination to take hold and show up disguised as productivity.

I am always working on improving my productivity, so here are five articles on how to break the procrastination habit and become more productive.

1. Stop procrastinating and get stuff done.

I’ve done or tried most of the techniques on this list from Self Magazine and I can say that some of them have stuck. If you struggle with procrastination, this list may present you with ideas you haven’t tried before. I suggest making #1, #5 and #11 your new reality.

2. You’re not good at multitasking — just accept it.

You may have seen reports that men are better at multitasking, or that women are born to be multitaskers, but research presented by Harvard Business Review shows that men and women are equal on this point — neither one is better at multitasking. The takeaway? Make extra effort in your day to work on your focus strengths and not your multitasking strengths. It’s time better spent.

3. Create a more productive work environment.

Here are 10 ways to create a more productive work environment from Entrepreneur. Each of the 10 points outlined in this article feature a step-by-step approach to making changes. If you need help make changes at work, this list (and the subsequent articles featured here) could help.

4. Productivity apps that will set you up for success. 

Productivity apps are a mixed bag. Some people claim that apps are the reason they get so much done in a day. Others, like me, can find these apps to be a black hole of information and threads that take us away from the more important stuff. You’ll find a healthy collection in this article from Refinery29 of self-limiting apps, along with group productivity apps. Take a look, and choose wisely.

5. If you need a quick fix, these productivity hacks may help. 

Productivity hacks can come in helpful when you’re facing some tight deadlines and a large list of deliverables in front of you. This article from Swirled features the book, Productivity Hacks: 500+ Easy Ways to Accomplish More at Work — That Actually Work. The article is a great way to see some of the unique and creative ways to introduce more productivity into your life. And if you like the article, make sure to check out the book by Emily Price.

So the bigger question here is this — do you feel more productive if you’ve procrastinated to the point that you have to rush to get things done? Do you find that you spend your time just accepting that this is how things are and they cannot change? If so, what’s one behavior, approach, or belief you could change (or hack) right now to take you from being busy to being productive?

The goal is to make small shifts that lead to bigger change.


Christina Holloway is an executive coach and business coach. She helps executives and entrepreneurs grow their companies faster, create results-driven teams, and increase profitability. She has been featured in ForbesThe Huffington PostAddicted2Success and Fast Company. If you’re interested in working with Christina, take a look at her strategy sessions and contact her to get started.

Christina Holloway