Mission Critical

Productive vs. Busy: How to Know the Difference and Why It Matters

During this pandemic, I’ve been busier than ever. Although the majority of my speaking engagements were canceled and my business took some unexpected twists and turns, I am still working. And possibly working harder than I ever did before.

However, at the end of each day, I am positive, energized, and excited. I have faith in the universe and what I am doing now that will help me become successful in the current environment and when we reach the other side. 

Funny thing is, I see others who are also busy. But at the end of the day, they are drained and exhausted. And while I know a positive mindset does have an impact, I realized that these two outcomes are a direct result of our actions.

For instance, I have had colleagues so ask me why I am so optimistic and how I can be so sure that I am on the right path when everything else is so uncertain. When I really stopped to think about it, I discovered that while my days are certainly full, I am actually not busy – I am being productive.

My secret? Mission-critical behaviors. 

On the daily, I am focused on my purpose and aligning my behaviors with what I need to do to be successful. While I am busy getting things done, I am doing things that I choose, I know they will give me a sense of control, which reinforces my faith. In short, I am controlling the controllable parts of my day and have a clear path aligned with mission-critical actions that will lead me to fulfill my purpose.

So, let’s break this down. 

What are Mission-Critical Behaviors?

Mission-critical behaviors are actions that give us the best return for our efforts. 

For example, in sales, we focus on four main actions that will lead us to success:

  1. Connections with Partners
  2. Advancing current prospects
  3. Retaining existing customers/relationships
  4. Entering new prospects into the funnel

These mission-critical behaviors are things anyone in sales striving to be successful must do every day – and they never change. The ultimate mission is to be successful by growing a business and closing more deals. Those goals cannot be accomplished without focusing on the four fundamentals.

Proactive Mission-Critical Behaviors vs. Reactive Actions

Proactive mission-critical behaviors lead to productivity. Productivity creates energy and leads to a sense of pride. Conversely, reactive behaviors lead to being busy. Busy creates feelings of exhaustion and being drained and overwhelmed. Those emotions lead to frustration and shame. 

Either option – proactive or reactive actions – will create a cycle and continue until the cycle is broken. That is a good thing if the cycle is full of proactive behaviors. Those actions will create momentum. So, if you do productive things and you feel energized and accomplished, that will create and reinforce a sense of pride, which will fuel you to keep achieving.

But if you are constantly engaging in reactive behaviors, you will feel exhausted and drained. You will get frustrated and feel shameful that you aren’t moving in a forward direction and eventually dread what you are doing – or even give up.

So, what is the key to all of this?

Know Your Purpose, Understand Your Mission, Identify the Behaviors

Figure out your purpose (or at least a draft of it). What are you ultimately setting out to accomplish? Decide on the mission that is going to get you there. And then identify the actions that are mission-critical and will continue to keep you moving forward toward reaching those goals. 

If you aren’t quite sure of those answers, go backward and reverse engineer it. At the end of the day, how do you feel? If you feel good, identify your actions and figure out how they ladder up moving you toward success. 

If you can’t make those connections or at the end of the day you feel drained and discouraged, then know that the actions you took were likely reactive. So take a moment (or a few) to evaluate what is going on. Work out your purpose, know your mission, and identify mission-critical behaviors and how you can reconfigure your day and create a proactive cycle of behaviors.

Do you already know your mission-critical behaviors? If so, what are they? Join the conversation and share at @sanschagrinchad on Instagram or Cannonball Moments on Facebook – I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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