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Are You Productive, or Just Busy? Not everything your team does will push your business forward. Here's how to refocus that time and energy - and get on a path toward long-term success.

By Adam Bornstein

This story appears in the September 2020 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Federico Gastaldi

Q: I feel like my team is always scrambling, but I have trouble knowing what's actually working. How can I tell? — Elizabeth, New Orleans

You know the old saying "Practice makes perfect"? It's a great mindset but also highly flawed. Practice leads to perfection only if you're focusing on the right things. When it comes to your business, busyness — also known as practice — can be a facade. And this becomes an even bigger problem during tough times, when it can feel impossible to keep a pulse on your business.

But don't stress. There are a few basic systems that can help turn your business into a highly efficient machine. To change the game, start by keeping score. Sports have clear winners and losers, and those outcomes are often determined long before the game lights go on. The best teams are notorious for tracking everything on the practice field and in the training room. You should do the same within your business.