What has a lumberjack competition got to do with being productive?


A day consists of 86,400 seconds or 1,440 minutes or 24 hours.

On average, a full time employee works 8 hours per day, 5 days per week.

A business owner, especially in the first five years, works on average between 8 and 12 hours per day, 6 or 7 days per week.

Are you spending those hours being productive or just being busy?

I am going to share a story about two lumberjacks to illustrate my question:

One lumberjack was older and more experienced and the other one was younger and stronger. They both competed in the annual lumberjack competition and ended up in the final.

The winner was the man who chopped down the most trees in a day.

The young lumberjack

  • He was very enthusiastic and determined to win.
  • He worked all day and through the night.
  • As he worked, he could hear the older lumberjack working in another part of the forest.
  • At regular intervals throughout the day, the noise of the trees being chopped down in the other side of the forest would stop.
  • These breaks in the noise gave him more confidence that he would win the competition, as he thought the older man couldn’t keep up.
  • The young lumberjack didn’t have to take a rest, as he was young and strong and could just keep going.
  • He was confident he would be the winner!
The medal ceremony

  • The young lumberjack stood tall, expecting to be crowned the winner!
  • The older lumberjack stood beside him looking just as confident and a lot less exhausted.
  • The master of ceremonies declared the older lumberjack as the winner!
  • The young lumberjack was devastated!
    • How could this be?
    • He worked all day AND night!
    • He heard the older lumberjack taking breaks!
    • He is stronger and fitter than the older man!
    • He should have won!

What the older lumberjack said

  •  ‘Yes, you are stronger and fitter than me and you worked much longer than I did BUT every hour, I took a break to rest and sharpen my axe’ 

Going back to my original question about how you spend your working time.

Are you focussing on being productive or just being busy?

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