What is more important? Keeping busy? Or, getting something done? In an odd way, both are intertwined, yet quite different. How so?
One can stay busy with activities but not accomplish anything.
Through too many decades to count and at least seven different career paths, I have found that accomplishment is more important than mere activity. The only problem is being able to determine whether or not an activity results in an accomplishment.
How can you tell when an activity will or will not result in an accomplishment?
First, there is a requirement to know what accomplishment is expected. That requires specific objectives which, in turn, require specific methods, procedures, milestones, and all the other basic steps used to reach an accomplishment.
Second, each activity then can be examined to determine if the effort will lead toward an accomplishment (objectives, goals, milestones, etc.).
Seems simple enough, right? Yes, it’s easier said than done.
Here’s an example.
I once had a job as a product manager for a local phone company. Every few days someone would come to my desk and drop off a large stack of printed reports about two inches thick. After a month on the job, the stack had reached nearly two feet in height.
Then, one morning I asked the delivery person— an activity-minded person from the data department— what the papers were. She didn’t know. They were printed out every few days and then delivered to my desk.
I asked around and nobody knew what was on the reports. So, I asked them to stop printing them. That ended the activity. Nothing was ever mentioned by anyone about the reports. Not only did it save time but the end to that activity probably saved a few trees, too (pre-public internet era).
Jobs and lives are filled with activities that may not be related to an accomplishment. How about a definition?
The state or quality of being active; nimbleness; agility; vigorous action or operation; energy; active force; as, an increasing variety of human activities. Something done as an action or a movement. Something done for pleasure or entertainment, especially one involving movement or an excursion.
The act of accomplishing; entire performance; completion; fulfillment; as, the accomplishment of an enterprise, of a prophecy, etc.
That which completes, perfects, or equips thoroughly; acquirement; attainment; that which constitutes excellence of mind, or elegance of manners, acquired by education or training.
Activities are movement-based. Accomplishments are completion and objective-based.