There I was Ms. “Make it Happen,” reading blog after blog and book after book. I was combing through the pages of magazines, and on the phone with every peer that would listen, trying to discover inspiration for my own blog…for six months. What do I say? Who will read? Where do I start? Those were the questions I started my day with for the next six months. I was busy for a total of twelve months but nothing was happening. It wasn’t until my husband started asking me if I had launched my blog at the end of everyday, that I realized I had turned back into the person that I was in fourth grade.
Follow me to “Ms. V’s” fourth grade class. She is my favorite teacher to date; and of course I was her favorite student. Anyway, at least twice a week she would hand out worksheets that any second grader could do...on the first day of class. She would stand in front of the class and announce that she needed to finish some important paper work and asked us to quietly complete our worksheets before the end of the class. This was her way of keeping us busy…and quite…while she completed the work she should have been doing instead of going on uneventful blind dates every other night. I know about the blind dates because my desk was positioned right next to the door where she would stand tell all of her business to the other teachers (Sorry Ms. V. That is why you are known in the story only by your initial). That busy work may have kept my hands moving and mouth close while Ms. V was productive, but it did nothing to push me towards the ultimate goal of progressing to the next grade.
Here is the connection. Spending twelve months researching, reading, ranting, and questioning, kept me very busy. Unfortunately, I was no more productive then, than I was as a fourth grader juggling busy work twice a week in Mrs. V’s class. To be productive means to effectively bring about the “thing” you set out to do…especially in abundance. To be busy means to be actively engaged in an action BUT does not, in itself, convey anything about the effectiveness of the activity. It is very important to understand the difference so that you don’t end up like me. That is…being very busy, doing nothing.
Being effective in action should always be the goal. Before you start each day ask yourself if your plans will bring about or produce the things that will push you toward your ultimate goal. If the answer is no, then create a more effective plan. Be productive and not just busy.