As outstanding managers know, the secret to effective productivity is not about getting everything on your to-do list done each day. It’s not about filling every hour. It’s about focusing on the most important tasks; the ones that really add value. As author and entrepreneur, Tim Ferris says:

Focus on being productive instead of busy.

The productivity illusion
So many people seem to be busy, overwhelmed and struggling with conflicting deadlines. There are times when you don’t know what to do next and feel pulled in all directions. You might be working late and missing out on rest and time with loved ones.

Being busy isn’t the same as being productive – that’s an illusion. We mustn’t confuse being busy with being productive. Feeling constantly busy can make us feel a sense of panic – rather than the calm needed for deep focus and thinking.

Little things that matter
There’s an interesting phenomenon that happens when you pay attention to the little things that matter. Over time, those little things make a big impact on your career or life. Big moments in life don’t happen often. You could probably count them on one hand. Small moments, on the other hand, are what fill our days.

How you spend your hours is how you spend your day. You’ll know this if you’ve ever been shocked by your screen time updates!

Working with people to help them improve their productivity, we’ve seen them free up from half an hour to an hour each day. Even if we’re conservative and look at gaining 30 minutes a day, that’s 3.5 hours a week, 14 hours a month and 168 hours a year!

It’s easy to see how this could give you back time to expand your learning and development, become an expert in something new, improve your health, or spend more time with your family.

The five productivity spells
In our three-minute time management assessment, we describe the five productivity spells that will make an instant impact on your personal and professional life: clarity, planning, technology, meeting and delegation. These aim to help you to dramatically improve your efficiency and effectiveness.

What’s important to remember is that great time management is not about getting more things done, it’s about focusing on the things that really matter.

As Lee Cockerell, retired Exec VP Operations, Disney, author and creator of the Time Management Magic programme that we run says: “It’s not about the hours you put in. It’s about what you put into your hours.”

It’s not about the hours you put in. It’s about what you put into your hours.

Find out more about our Time Management Magic programme for multi-unit managers or ask us a question via

Your three-minute time management assessment

If you’d like to know more about improving your time management, productivity and focus, take our Three-minute time management assessment to evaluate how effective and consistent you are at tackling the challenges of time management and receive some top tips for improving your productivity.