Productive vs. Unproductive

Updated: May 7

People often say there is “not enough time in the day.” They claim they would start a project, write a book, or create an invention if they only had more time.


Leaders who are passionate about improving - professionally or personally - always seem to find time for doing important work. In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear asks the following: "The average person spends over two hours per day on social media. What could you do with an extra six hundred hours per year?"


As you read this section, I encourage you to reflect on your own practices. How much of your time is spent aimlessly browsing social media, watching television, online shopping, or playing video games?

For some individuals, time management is not an issue. However, most people are wasting precious time and energy on their daily habits. Over the past few years I have reflected on how my time is spent. I used to spend a lot time on activities that produced no meaningful result in my life. Whereas I told myself that social media, television, and online browsing were healthy entertainment, the truth is they were adversely impacting my life. Whereas I assumed they were making me happy, in reality these habits created anxiety, depleted my resources (energy and finances), and stifled my creativity. This realization led to a mindset change. My newfound mission was to replace unproductive habits (social media, watching TV) with productive habits (reading, writing, working out). The result has been incredible, as this new focus has allowed me to produce more meaningful work than ever before. Before I go further, I want to be clear I still spend plenty of time on social media, watching television, and doing other leisurely tasks. The difference is, I am now doing these leisure activities after I have committed time to working on my professional and personal goals.


In his book The 5 AM Club, Robin Sharma maintains, “We don't realize there's a staggering difference between being busy and being productive. High-impact performers and genuine world-builders... waste few moments and are far more focused on doing real work versus artificial work.”


I encourage readers to learn from my mistakes and analyze how they spend their time. High-impact performers who are serious about personal growth will find time to make their goals a reality.

Looking for another great book discussing ideas for being productive? Consider reading The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker.

Copyright © 2019 by Dr. Jared Smith LLC.  Specializing in Leadership, Education, and Personal Growth.