Fashion Business Owner Musings: Sometimes We’re Not the Least Bit Productive

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between being productive and being busy. They’re not the same thing, but sometimes we all kind of pretend they are.

So there’s “busy” which means you have a whole bunch of shit to do and you can’t help but constantly feel behind a lot. You’re working constantly but you’re not necessarily making any real dent in your to-do list or making any real strides in your business. You’re just sort of doing stuff.

And then there’s “productive” which means that you are doing things that have an actual impact on your goals and bring you closer to the success that you have defined for yourself.

Clearly, the goal is to be productive more than we’re busy.

But here’s thing about productivity, I don’t achieve it every day. Scary truth for an entrepreneur to admit out loud, huh? Especially to a community of fellow entrepreneurs. But it’s the truth.

Some days I’m not productive at all. I’m not focused, I’m not in the flow, and I don’t push myself to be. Some days I do bits of many things or I get random tasks out of the way like re-organizing my desk or going through a bunch of emails that I’ve been putting off. Or, and here goes, I do nothing but read my book on the couch all. fucking. day. I’m serious.

I think it’s easy for us to get down on ourselves about this; to feel like we need to be making huge strides every single day. But I believe in balance and giving ourselves a break every once in a while. I believe in enjoying our time and ditching work every now and again.

Because some days I just can’t take it. I can’t spend one more second staring at that freaking to-list or expend one more modicum of energy trying to get things accomplished. If I’m having a day where I constantly have an overwhelming desire to do nothing of importance, I’ve become good at accepting that. I know it won’t be like this every day so I just go with it.

And here’s the thing, I’ve found that when I give myself those days to pad around my house doing nothing, the next day I’m usually pretty pumped to make shit happen. I’m productive. I’m in the flow. I’m excited about ideas and making strides. And when I’m productive in my day,  I actually have to work less. When I’m focused, I don’t actually have to work as much as when I’m simply busy. Sweet!

So if you suffer from this busy/productive thing like I do, my advice is to stop being “busy” and start being lazy. Ha! Just kidding. But do start giving yourself permission to do nothing sometimes and watch how it actually helps you accomplish more.

Lots of love and encouragement,




P.S. If you’re one to easily tumble into an abyss of laziness and inactivity, this could possibly be the worst advice you’ll ever receive. So pay attention to what works for you and what doesn’t. This method isn’t for everyone! 😉

Nicole Giordano
Nicole Giordano

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online resource and community supporting for independent designers around the world with building their businesses.A deep love for the craft of fashion paired with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION, where she helps independent designers and makers screw the traditional fashion business rules, create their own paths, and build businesses they truly love.More than anything else, she’s in the business of encouragement and works every day to remind makers and designers that they have something special to offer the world and that they can, in fact, do this thing!

  1. Avatar

    This is something I can completely relate too, I am definitely much more productive after a day of doing nothing. Your business owner musings are always on point, sometimes I feel you’re writing about my life. Thank you for all the advice! they are so helpful, I am always looking forward to them.

    I wanted to ask you if you could write about networking, as a new fashion business owner I’m trying to find ways to connect with other people and it is so hard to find events to network at. If you know websites or ways to find fashion networking events it would be awesome and extremely helpful if you shared them!

    • Nicole Giordano
      Nicole Giordano

      Hi Lariannie,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m so happy to hear that my weekly musings are helpful. 🙂

      As for networking, it really depends on where you are.
      – NYC tradeshows are great for networking (texworld, dg expo, premier vision, capsule, coterie)
      – is searchable by industry and location
      – Facebook is a great way to search for events
      – eventbrite also works well
      – get on mailing lists for boutiques in your area that hold popups and trunkshows (a lot of fellow designers attend to check it out, not just consumers)

      Hope that helps!

      • Avatar

        Thank you so much for your reply!

        I am located in NY and those were helpful ideas, will look into them. Thanks again!

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