Mistake 1: You mistake activity for productivity.
Most of us want to do a good job. You’re inspired—you want to provide the best product and service you can for your client.
But many of us misinterpret a “good” as “busy.”
We waste time and energy, and ultimately, can burn ourselves out.
I’ve made this mistake in my own career by falling prey to paralysis by analysis—immersing myself so heavily in research that I forgot what it was I was hired to do.
For example, early in my career I was tasked with finding a MAZAK CNC Programmer for a manufacturing company. I vaguely knew what CNC machine was, but I had no idea what a MAZAK was nor what a CNC programmer did. So rather than pick up the phone and get to work, I decided to teach myself all there was to know about the state of the CNC Manufacturing industry and the specs of the MAZAK machine. I know more about the history of the Yamazaki Mazak Corporation than anyone should.
This was a mistake. Nobody cares about how much research I did or how many hours I put in. My job was to get candidates on the phone, tell them about the opportunity, and get them talking to my partner, who actually knew all he needed to know about the company, the industry, and the role. In my research, I forgot what my role was and what I was expected to do.
Productivity is measured by results––not effort.
One question I ask before taking on any new task is “is this the best use of my time right now?”

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