Are You Busy or Productive?

In today’s business world, we see a lot of attention, kudos, and accolades given to the “busy” professional.  In fact, many “busy” people are given a badge of honor for the intensity of their hustle or for their insatiable need for “the grind.”  My question is, does being insanely busy really mean that you are moving the needle towards whatever your definition of success is? Or, is being busy just filling your day?  Below, you will see characteristics of the “busy” professional versus the productive professional. My guess is, once we break down what it means to be busy and what it means to be productive, we will start tackling our day and our work very differently and defining which will better serve us…being busy or productive.

The difference between being busy and being productive.

Busy People:

– Focus on the number of tasks completed rather than the importance of the tasks

– Give importance and urgency to every task that comes their way

– Tend to be distracted by checking email, their phones and text messages constantly

– Believe they can multitask to accomplish more which actually slows productivity because your brain is actually “toggling” back and forth rather than doing thing simultaneously

– Rarely take breaks from their desk and screens


Productive People:

– Focus on the quality of work completed

– Thoughtfully determine which tasks and projects must be completed in the order of importance

– Tune into efficiency and build systems for everything allowing for tasks and the mundane to be completed more quickly

– Schedule times periodically throughout the day to check email, voicemail, texts, etc. so that they are not constantly interrupted

– Know when to take a break and get refreshed to gear up for more focused work


Now that you can see the difference, take a look at your day and determine whether or not all the “busy-ness” is really making you and your business as productive as it can be.  Here are some of my favorite ways to remain focused throughout the day:

  • Batch like tasks together – it helps me stay deep in focus instead of bouncing around from task to task, causing my brain to stop and start
  • Setting timers for 30 – 45 minutes and challenging myself to work in “deep focused” sprints
  • Checking email and texts at scheduled points during the day
  • Allowing myself a set amount of time to scroll through social media
  • Working against deadlines rather than open-ended timeframes
  • Set devices to “DO NOT DISTURB” for uninterrupted work time


Food for Thought…

Many times, I believe we give ourselves too much time to get a project or task done.  If you really spent your work hours engaged in deep focused, uninterrupted work, you will be amazed at what you can get done in a short amount of time.  The next time you need to tackle a project, write a blog, schedule social media posts, etc., estimate how much time you think the project will take to complete.  Then, cut that time in half and challenge yourself to get the job done in half the time. Working against deadlines makes a huge difference in productivity and efficiency!