When I started becoming aware of the kind of person I want to be, I had no clue the real difference between this two.
I thought for a long time I was being productive when in reality, I was simply busy.
At the end of this article, I want you to answer this question,
“Am I being busy or productive?”
When answering, please be 100% honest with yourself.
Busy people take actions but their actions are not directed towards any goal
They are simply in motion. Full to do list but, nothing to measure their effectiveness or results by that actually improves their lives or, brings in an ROI on their time.
Productive People take actions that are directed towards specific goals.
They are not just taking action to stay busy or for the sake of it. Every action is directed at a goal they have set for themselves
Busy people have to do lists full of chores and errands
For a long time, this was me. My to do lists would be full of things like
a. Clean the house
b. Do laundry
c. Cook dinner
You get the point?
All of these things are simply chores but no actual productive action.
For productive people, doing chores and errands doesn’t mean that they have been productive
Infact, after I learnt this, I can distinctively tell when I have been productive and when I have just been wasting my time.
The only rule by which productive people know they have been productive is “does it bring me closer to my goals?”
Busy people have very long and full to do lists
Hence, their busyness.
They have so much packed in to do and like they will say “I have o much to do, I have no time”.
Productive people have shorter to do list.
Their to do lists are shorter because
a. Their to do list items are focused on their goals and not chores
b. Their to do list is usually guided by their self awareness and for lots of productive people, too many things on a to do list burns them out.
Busy people feel like they are constantly doing a lot of things.
And they are, they are always in motion. But,
Productive people feel like they are getting closer to their monthly or quarterly goals each day.
At the end of the day, they look at their actions and feel another step closer to their goals.
Busy people speak in “I will”, “I plan to” when it comes to their goals.
They are always in motion doing chores and running errands but, when it comes to their goals, they “plan to”.
They barely have “I have done” or “I will” attached to their actual goals.
Productive people speak in “ I have”
“I have done”, “I have executed”, “I have gone”,
They aren’t “potential” people only, they are “execution oriented people.
They are not planning and then over-thinking, they are planning and executing.
Busy people are good at multi-tasking and creating basic or shallow results.
They do everything at the same time.
A busy person’s has 5 pages open at the same while working on the internet and they end up with flawed results and time burns because they are trying to do much at the same time.
They are great multi-taskers
Productive people are focused
They open a tab and get through one thing at a time.
They are as effective as they are efficient and, because they have a few things on their to do lists, they can focus on creating high quality work.
Busy people say “Yes” too fast and too often.
A friend offers an invite to a wedding, their answer is always “YES”, their boss asks for extra help with something non-work related, their answer is always “YES”.
Their neighbor asks for help in an area their answer is “YES”, their pastor comes out of nowhere and offers them a new position in the church with more responsibility, their answer “YES”.
They say “YES” to everything and end up having super crazy schedules that aren’t really yielding any results.
Productive people: Say “No” more often and faster.
Their reason being that, they know exactly the things that they need to do to bring the results they desire and the things that are just an absolute waste of time.
They also know what distractions look like
Busy people take actions that are tied to short term daily goals mainly.
This is why for a lot of busy people, their to do lists are full of chores and errands.
Nothing of value.
The reason I find this happens is that, most people lack purpose.
They are yet to find the thing they want to do for the rest of their lives.
Productive people have their actions tied to long term goals.
Their goals for the month which is derived from a theme of the year or goals for the year drives their daily action.
Everything on the daily to do list is directed towards getting them closer to their long term goals.
They have a clear purpose that drives everything
Busy people say “ I don’t have time’ like it is badge of honour.
Unfortunately, according to Tim Ferris, not having time is a sign one is very in-efficient.
Productive people say “I don’t have time” as a way to get out of tasks they know is useless to their goals and ability to achieve them.
They make time for the things that matter to them and will bring them closer to their goals.
Busy people Work very hard.
They put in their time and can go lots of hours a day working on something.
They try to do everything themselves, they are not efficient people.
Productive people understand delegation and automation.
They run their lives in a way that they ask for help when needed, outsource things that they can do but do not have to and automate things that take too much time and involve monotonous work.
Do you agree?
Based on this analysis, which one are you?
Busy or productive.
I know I struggle with delegation and automation which is something I have to get a grip on