Being Productive Versus Being Busy

Productive Most of us have a desire to be more productive. However, a desire alone will not make you more productive. For most people the desire to be more productive only leads to busyness. In addition, busyness just makes us tired and worn out. The desire to realize the potential planted deep within, to reach goals and advance toward living life as a masterpiece, falls short. Opportunity missed! However, there is good news: a simple strategy that will take you from busyness to productivity.

The “When-Then” Strategy

The “When-Then” strategy is a planning strategy that will help you focus in the moment and set you free to be productive. Let’s say you need to answer emails. Rather than letting your email service pop up on your computer screen and tell you every time you get an email, you would plan by saying, “when it’s 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. then I will check emails”.

This does several things to improve your productivity. Now you will be able to focus on what you are doing without letting others dictate what is most important for you. You see if you are responding to emails when they pop up on the screen, then the person sending the email is dictating your schedule, they are setting your priorities. (Or phone calls, appointments etc.) You need to set your priorities by saying “when-then”.

This simply strategy will multiply your chances for success in reaching your goals. This will help you to decide in advance to live by your priorities and not someone else’s. You need to always remember that if you don’t have a plan for your time and energy some else does! This is true of every area of your life, if you don’t have a plan for your money, some marketer does etc…

Creating More Hours In The Day

Nope, I don’t have a secret for having more than 24 hours in the day, but when you incorporate this kind of planning you will have a sense that you have added hours to your day. When you make a decision of what you are going to do prior to that time, you will not spend as much energy trying to decide what to do. If you have said “When” it’s noon “Then” I will go to the gym to workout, your brain is preparing for that time and situation as a part of your plan. As an artist I find this works well for my painting time, like most of us in life, I could paint all day and never be finished painting. I am much more productive as a painter as I apply this strategy: “When it’s Thursday at 9 a.m. Then I will paint the 24×30″ landscape I need to paint.” And my brain begins to plan toward it, and I am free to do the other things I need to do without worry or fret that I should be getting that painting done.


As a leader I find the “When-Then” strategy not only productive for myself but it is invaluable for the staff I work with. When they have questions or concerns they are put at ease when I am able to say something like “When we are in our regular Monday morning meeting next week, Then I will have a decision for you.” And the good news is they usually hold me accountable, again making me more productive!

You will find that the “When-Then” strategy will make you much more productive in reaching the goals of every area of your life.

“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity,

but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” (Proverbs 21:5 NLT)


Set at least one “When-Then” strategic time today. How does it work for you? Leave your feedback, questions and comments below.