The Business of Busyness

The Business of Busyness

First published on the ABN Her Business Blog

How do you keep track of your projects and tasks? How do you get to the end of your day and make sure that you have accomplished your goals for the day? How do you make sure you haven’t been fluffing around being busy but not accomplishing anything?  It’s so easy to get stuck in the business of busyness, doing those tasks that are ultimately not important.

Brian Tracey introduced us to the urgent vs important matrix.


From this matrix, you can see that our number 1 priorities should be urgent and important tasks. These are tasks that can have serious consequences if not completed.

Interruptions, emails and the like that appear to be pressing, although urgent, are not that important in driving your business forward as shown in Sector III in the matrix.  This is the big busyness sector, when you can appear to be super busy but not really accomplish much.  You know this sector, you’ve been there before.  I know I have. How do we stop?  Delegate.


Sector IV in the matrix relates to all those tasks that are neither urgent nor important, so you shouldn’t be doing them.  Get rid of them all together. They are not helping you focus on your goals.

Sector II is not urgent but important.  This is the area where business growth occurs and you make time to work on your business.  This is where you can truly start to leverage your efforts.  Time spent here has a tremendous impact on your business in the long term.

So what should be your focus? Definitely the urgent and important tasks as they have serious consequences attached if not completed.  Then, you need to make sure you schedule time to work on the important but not urgent tasks.  They drive the business forward and assist you in achieving your goals.

Anything that doesn’t fall into the above two areas should be deferred, delegated or dumped entirely.  Rid yourself of the unnecessary tasks that do nothing to fulfill you or your business.

How can you do this?  Brian Tracy suggests asking these questions regularly:

  1. What are my highest value activities?  What are the things that contribute the greatest value to my work?
  2. What is the most valuable use of my time right now?

As a business owner who is constantly fighting the “busyness” disease, I have found the questions above and the matrix very useful in keeping me real and on track.  I am fine-tuning my delegation skills, eliminating that unimportant stuff and focusing on the growth aspects of my business.  Am I seeing the rewards from this focus?  Absolutely!

So tell me what are you doing to keep focused on the important aspects of your business.  Have you used any of the tools above?  Or do you have other tools you have used to maintain that laser focus?

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