Monday, January 17th, 2022

Key to Success: Prolific vs. Productive?

By Karen Dodd on Oct 10 2012 • Filed under Business

What is key to success: being prolific or being productive? (Photo: Dhiego Andrade)In a previous article, Which Way Does Your "Entelechy" Grow? I posed the question: "Which of these adjectives do you think can make a huge difference in one's success: Prolific or Productive?"

On first glance, it may appear that they're both important keys to achieving your goals, whether in business or your personal life. But are they really?
A Real Life Example
Having lived the life of a writer for the past few years, I have observed a lot of prolific writers that could also be called "wannebe's." I've noticed the same phenomenon with artists and creative people of all types.
The same holds true for being prolific in your business or entrepreneurial venture. One may write, paint or otherwise produce a storm of activity, often resulting in work of excellent quality. 
That sounds productive, doesn't it? But have these busy individuals ever published anything or sold their paintings? Has the entrepreneur built a killer website but isn't selling enough of their products and services to make their business a success? Sadly, the answer is often "no."
Prolific or Productive: How to Tell the Difference
One of the biggest errors I see entrepreneurs and writers make is they mistake being busy (aka prolific) for being productive. They are definitely not the same thing!
For example, the business owner who spends hours, days and weeks writing their website copy, getting their business cards designed and printed, and getting their social media set up, has definitely been busy and those would seem to be important aspects of moving their business forward. But does it produce much-needed income in the here and now? 
Ah, but it will in the future, you say. While that may be true, I have seen too many entrepreneurs go down the tube because they couldn't finance themselves long enough to reap those potential benefits. 
Instead, what if that business owner racked up the same number of hours designing a sale or promotion that would bring paying customers through their physical or virtual door? What if she picked up the phone and connected with past clients to offer them an exclusive opportunity on one of her new services? Or let them know about her client appreciation program when they provide referrals? 
Produce Yourself
Assuming you're in your chosen field or craft so you can share what you do with your target market, you must have a way of actually getting it out there. What if the great writers of the world had written superlative prose every day of their lives but never got published? They wouldn't be today's household names, right? In fact, there are many amazingly talented writers, artists and entrepreneurs who we will never hear of because they are prolific rather than productive; therefore they continue to remain unknown. Don't let that be you!
Your Mission Should You Choose to Accept It:
One of the most valuable pieces of advice I was given many years ago, was to ask myself every day:
What is the most valuable use of my time right now? Or, alternatively, 
What can I do today that will make me money? (or get my product, service or craft into the world?)
Type up a big bold sign and put it on top of your computer screen or wherever you'll see it throughout your day that says: "Is what I am about to do getting me closer or further from my goal?" If it's the latter, stop what you're doing right now and redirect your attention to a task that makes you productive!
Until next time, remember that being productive is like a train chugging down the right track with purpose versus a leaf, that although beautiful, gets swept this way and that by the fickleness of the wind.

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