Are you busy or are you productive?

Being busy does not mean you’re being productive. If you work long hours struggling to complete your to-do list each day, but you aren’t reaping the rewards of your work, then you may be busy—not productive.

Is It Writing or Busy Work?

You’re a professional with a lot of tasks to complete, but not enough time to do them. So you multi-task, which really means that you start many tasks but finish few. Writing is no exception.

For most professionals, writing is one of the most important and time-consuming tasks we do each day. We’re under pressure to get it right, so we draft, revise, edit, proofread, and check again. Yes, those tasks must be done—but doing each of those tasks on your brain power alone takes time and is inefficient.

Low Confidence and Low Productivity

When writing is a significant part of our professional lives, we must have confidence in knowing and delivering our message. Consider how often you are asked to convey information to your colleagues. With each email, memo, or report, you’re communicating information and expressing yourself. It can be daunting.

Discomfort with the content of your message or uncertainty about your professional identity can sideline you into a cycle of editing and questioning that presents itself as productivity but is better recognized as mere busyness.

Break the Cycle of Busy Tinkering

Suppose you’ve completed the first draft of your document. You start to edit, but end up stuck on just one paragraph. Is it too long? Too short? Incomplete? You start to think that it might need a complete re-write instead. Or perhaps another round of spellcheck? Or maybe more citations would help?

These considerations are the mark of a writer who expects to be busy but lacks the confidence to be productive. Confidence in what you’ve written and how you’ve written it helps you determine your next tasks and complete them without wasting time second-guessing every decision.

Lacking confidence in your writing can lead to editing paralysis. You know something needs to be done, but just aren’t sure what that something is. So you do lots of things with little purpose or direction. This is busy—but not productive—document work.

Create and Maintain Momentum

To stop wasting time wondering and tinkering, try writing until all of your ideas exist on the page, then edit systematically and in stages. This will give you the feeling of accomplishment and keep you focused on manageable tasks you can confidently complete.

When you cycle through your document, improving one aspect at a time, you won’t get stuck between what you’ve written and what you’re still trying to say. Using editing software like WordRake can help reveal the message you intend to deliver. WordRake also saves you time and makes you productive by allowing you to spend more time finishing other tasks.


Editing is critical. It helps ensure that we express ourselves and our ideas well, but it can also be a never-ending task that keeps us busy and hinders productivity. Tech tools like WordRake can help us quickly and confidently convey our intended message accurately and professionally.

When you use technology to help with professional communication, you’ll become the productive professional you’ve always known you could be. Let WordRake help you communicate confidently today. Try it for free for 7 days.

About the Author

Colin S. Levy is the Director of Marketing and Business Development for WordRake. Before joining the team, Colin practiced corporate law for ten years. He completed his certificate in legal technology and innovation at Suffolk University Law School in 2019 and is a legal tech evangelist, speaker, and blogger. Follow Colin on Twitter and on LinkedIn

Our Story

WordRake founder Gary Kinder has taught over 1,000 writing programs for AMLAW 100 firms, Fortune 500 companies, and government agencies. He’s also a New York Times bestselling author. As a writing expert and coach, Gary was inspired to create WordRake when he noticed a pattern in writing errors that he thought he could address with technology.

In 2012, Gary and his team of engineers created WordRake editing software to help writers produce clear, concise, and effective prose. It runs in Microsoft Word and Outlook, and its suggested changes appear in the familiar track-changes style. It saves time and gives confidence. Writing and editing has never been easier.