Are You Acting Like You’re Working?

Last week my wife and I just got back from a vacation in Maui which definitely was a much needed break from the internet hustle. In fact while I was there I did absolutely zero work, which for those that know me is like a week in rehab.

While there much of our time was spent sitting on the beach doing nothing at all other than reading a book or watching the waves roll into the warm sand in front of us. Quite a bit of time I was able to spend time thinking about my business instead of working in it.

So often I get so caught up in working in my business that I don’t take the time out, unplug, and really think deeply about where I am going and what I’m doing to reach my long term goals. If you haven’t taken a few days off away from your computer and cell phone for awhile, I highly suggest you do. It is amazing what I’ve learned and thought of in the week away from my business.

Lessons From a Menu Guy

One night while in Maui we decided to head into Lahaina to shop a bit and grab some dinner. We walked past a guy standing in front of a restaurant holding a menu. Obviously he was working for the restaurant to lure tourists in to eat whatever they had to offer. While walking by I was waiting to get the sales pitch, but instead, he just looked at me, we both smiled, and then we walked past without him saying a word to us.

I thought maybe he didn’t work there or possibly he was the shy type. A few hours later we were walking on the other side of the street and there he still was, standing in front of the restaurant holding the menu out not saying a word as people passed by.

We ended up going to a burger place that was right next door to where he was and the business man inside of me was happy when we were seated at a table on the balcony overlooking the sidewalk where this guy was “working”.

I watched hoping to see him in action. Obviously the guy was getting paid to be there so what was his angle? In the hour or so we were there I watched closely and counted a few hundred people walking by and only 1 person he talked to. From the looks of the conversation and some pointing, that person had just asked for directions.

Every 1-3 minutes he’d reach in his pocket, pull out his phone and look at the time. He probably did that 20 times in an hour. He’d also study and read the menu making it look like he was busy. Between that he’d pace back and forth giving passers by a polite smile as they walked on by.

To someone walking on the sidewalk this guy looked like he was working. He was probably a busy guy.

From my point of view however, he did absolutely nothing to get people into the restaurant. I actually only saw 1 couple walk in and they didn’t even make eye contact with our menu friend.

So here is this guy making money by acting like he was busy, when in reality what he was doing didn’t help the bottom line of the business at all.

Are You The Menu Guy?

I started thinking about this guy and how sometimes I can relate to him. Obviously he wasn’t the most outgoing and probably just took the job for money so he could live in Maui and surf (he looked like he might be a good surfer).

He was doing everything he could to look busy, but no progress was made.

Do you ever find yourself in that position? I know I do. I check stats, keep my email open so I can delete or reply to emails as soon as they come in, check stats again, read another blog post, check stats again, check analytics, take a break, delete emails, chat on Skype, look through Flippa, and then check stats one more time.

It seems like I’m busy, but I’m not at all productive.

Busyness is not productivity?

Sometimes you need to take a step back from your business and really take a look at how you are spending your time and how it is actually helping you if any. If your time is being wasted, change your plan.

If you’re too busy to stop and analyze your business and what you are doing day to day, you are most likely not as productive as you could be. You’re the menu guy.

How do you make sure you maintain good productivity in your business?

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3 Responses

  1. I don’t now if I’m doing these things (checking stats too frequently, replying to every email I get within minutes of receiving them, reading blog posts, etc) because I’m trying “to look busy”, or if it may be qualified as addiction… but, either way, it certainly doesn’t help the productivity. Off to shut down my Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Analytics… to get some more real work done…. 🙂

    Good time management post, Logan.

    1. Exactly Geno. I don’t think I do it to look busy either. It just becomes a habit that can get in the way of real productivity if not managed correctly.

      Thanks for the comment.

  2. I love unplugging for a while and watching people. It really is a good lesson sometimes and I always take away something that they are either doing right or extremely wrong like in your case.

    We see this same thing happening online right now. People are sitting on Facebook and Twitter all day and never update or add content to their website. Then they can’t figure out why their site isn’t performing at all.

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