Many of us think that to be super busy at work means to be very effective and have a productive day, but it's actually a general misconception.

To be busy doesn’t necessarily mean you’re effective and to be effective doesn’t mean to work all day long in non-stop mode.

At Powering Your Potential, we often use the phrase “busy is not effective!” as loads of people we work with are or will tell you they are extremely busy. Sadly they are not as effective as they could be. It is therefore vitally important to understand the meaning of being effective.

Effectiveness is the degree to which something is successful in producing a desired result. If the result you desire is to be busy then maybe you are being effective, normally however the most effective way is to achieve something in the simplest and quickest way possible.

Being effective and productive is fuelled by the purpose of what you want to achieve. It is important to know what the objective is, what needs to be delivered and when. This will then enable you to prioritise your tasks and get them dealt with or at least underway. It is as much about working smart as it is about working hard.

The difference between being busy and effective can be the ability to say no to taking on all the tasks that people want to give you, or perhaps don’t want to do! If you understand your objectives and prioritise then it is much easier to say no to things that do not fall within these criteria.

Ask yourself how much quicker and better do you work the day before a planned period of time off, when you need to get things sorted, organised or dealt with. This is often a period when you are most effective as you know what you need to do in the time available and as a result do, delegate or delete things from the to do list.

When it comes to being effective we encourage people to bring a focus and intensity to their activity while focusing on those fundamentals of Planning, prioritisation and organisation.


Develop a prioritised to-do list and review it every day. If you are not working on things that are prioritised, then ask yourself if you are being effective or prioritising properly.

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