Author: Josiah Ross
Nowadays, being busy is fashionable, it’s cool. Being busy is something that many of us wear as a badge of honor. We wear this badge similar to the type of badge that we wear when we’ve just had to stay up all night to finish something that we’d been procrastinating on.
Being busy is not something that you should be proud of. It shouldn’t be cool, and it shouldn’t be the next conversation point of the day. Being busy is a mark of an inefficient and unproductive person. While many people that are busy are actually productive, 90% of the people that claim to be busy are needlessly busy. So strive to be productive, don’t be busy. Busy people don’t go places while productive people are successful.
There are 7 key differences between busy and productive people:
- Busy people complain about being busy while productive people just get it done, no talking, no complaints.
- Busy people want to look busy while productive people look busy because they actually are busy
- Busy people have tons of priorities, productive people know how to prioritize
- Busy people jump straight into the task, productive people take time to plan
- Busy people confuse activity for achievement, productive people focus on where they’re going before they move
- Busy people miss the details, productive people pay attention to detail
- Busy people multitask, productive people focus on one task.
Busy people complain about being busy, productive people just get it done
When you listen to the average busy person, you’ll constantly hear them talking, complaining about how busy they are. If you ask them if you’re free, you might want to brace yourself for a speech about how every last minute of their schedule is filled. They complain, they complain, and they complain like they don’t have a choice in the matter.
If you ask a productive person if they’re free, they might not be, but if you’re important enough to them, they’ll find some time to squeeze you in. Why? Because they don’t waste hours upon hours of precious time talking about how busy they are, and rather, they get it done so that they can actually have extra time.
Busy people want to look busy, productive people only look busy because they actually are busy
Busy people only get things done at work because they are always being supervised. They want to look busy so people don’t ask them to do more. Their mindset is, if they look really busy, they’ll be able to avoid having to do more work.
Productive people don’t care who sees them doing work, they don’t care whether they look busy or not because they’re work speaks for itself. They only look busy because they actually are busy. They get it done, no questions asked, no games played
Busy people have tons of priorities, productive people know how to limit their priorities
Busy people have tons of priorities, they have a meeting on that side of town, a dinner date on the other, and thousands upon thousands of emails to rummage through in the middle. They juggle their priorities with the left and the right hand at the same time, never completely focusing on one.
Productive people, on the other hand, know how to limit their priorities. They focus on one task at a time. They never juggle, their schedules never overlap(if they can help it!). They focus on one task at a time, one priority at a time. They know how to say no to yet another thing that they need to deal with. They prioritize, limit their priorities, unlike busy people, who let them run wild.
Busy people jump straight into the task, productive people take time to plan and reflect
Busy people jump straight into the task at hand, most likely because they’re trying to look busy. They don’t take the time to plan, to schedule, to reflect, or anything of the like. With busy people, it doesn’t matter if the task is big or small, significant or not, they just start. They start without looking ahead to the finish line, or looking back to see what worked and what didn’t. By not taking the time to plan and reflect, they open themselves up to be crushed by the obstacles on their way to the finish line.
Productive people don’t jump straight into the task, they take the time to plan and reflect. They know that they can’t build a house without a blueprint, so they don’t. They take the time to plan, they take the time to schedule, they take the time to reflect. When a task arises for productive people they take the time to scope it out, see what helped the last time, to see how much time it will take etc. In essence, they look both sides before they cross the road. By looking ahead and behind, they prevent themselves from being blinded along the way.
Busy people mistake activity for achievement, productive people focus on where they’re going before they move
Busy people get extremely excited when things start moving. When things start going their way and they start to move in the direction of their goals, they confuse that activity for achievement. They don’t realize that the very activity that they mistake can be taken from them at a moment’s notice. As Isocrates once stated:
“It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly. Do not mistake activity for achievement. Remember there is nothing stable in human affairs, therefore, avoid undue elation in prosperity or undue depression in adversity.”
Productive people focus on where they’re going before they move. They avoid getting excited too early because they know to be wary of the excitement that can quickly follow when things start to happen. So, they focus on where they’re going, again, looking at both sides of the roads before crossing. They celebrate, but only when that celebration follows a true achievement.
Busy people miss the small details, productive people pay attention to detail
Busy people want to get their work done as fast as possible. Often times, they work at times when it’s hard to focus, or at times when their boss is staring at them. That lack of focus makes them miss the details that are truly important. As a result, they often forget the minor details that can quickly turn into a big deal. They miss the tiny details in almost all they do, which could be a huge disadvantage in the work that they do.
Productive people are usually in it for the long haul. They pay attention to the details that most people don’t even notice, giving them a substantial advantage over their busy competition. Productive workers tend to spend more time looking through every little aspect of their work before finalizing their work. That way, when they finish the first time, they can move on without having to look back, because they know that they’ve done their best work and they haven’t left any loose ends.
Busy people multitask, productive people focus on one task at a time
Here comes the mother of all time-wasters, multitasking. Busy people often become victims of multitasking because of their need to get everything done at once. The problem with that is, multitasking doesn’t help, it actually slows you down. Not only does it slow you down, it makes you less efficient. When you multitask, your focus resembles a revolving door. When your focus is a revolving door, you’ll never be able to focus on one thing, because there’s always somebody coming in or out.
Productive people don’t multitask. Why? It’s all about focus, if you focus on one task at a time you’re able to finish your work faster and you’ll be able to focus more on the details. Most of the time, productive people have been around the block a few times, so they know what multitasking can do to your mind, your focus, and your work. So, they just don’t do it, they focus on one task. One step at a time, one task at a time, until they get to the finish line.
Beware the barrenness!
It’s too easy to fall into the barrenness of being busy. Don’t, fight all of the things mentioned above, fight all of the things that turn you into just another person complaining about how busy they are. So don’t be busy, be productive.