Do you find yourself constantly telling people you’ve been busy every time they ask where you’ve been? Do you spend a lot of time on something, but find yourself not getting much done? In most cases, you can be very busy, but also unproductive. It really depends on how well you manage your time. Let’s look at the difference between being busy and being productive and how you can shift from busy to productive.
What it means to be busy
Busy means doing a lot of things. When you do too many things, you end up feeling like you always have more things to do. Your to-do list never ends and grows longer the more things you do. You drown in the go-go-go and never have time important tasks. This often leads to burnout, high blood pressure and generally low immune system.
What it means to be productive
When you’re productive, you get the right things done. This leaves you feeling like you’re in the driver’s seat and can park your car when you have to. You’re able to create more time for other activities. What’s more, you can clearly see the progress you’re making leaving you both energized and calm.
Spot the difference
1. Are you prioritsing?
When you’re productive, you know what’s important by striking a balance between long-term goals and short-term demands. When you’re busy, you seem to be winging it and putting out as many fires as possible. However, the workload just seems to get heavier.
2. Are you putting things into perspective?
When you’re productive, you don’t view your to-do list as all the things you NEED to get done. You see it as a list of possibilities and opportunities. You choose what to focus on and ensure you complete it. On the other hand, when you’re busy, you feel the pressure of getting more things done so you can quickly move on to getting more things done. You’ll never feel satisfied.
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3. Do you have have direction
When you’re productive, you have a destination in mind. You may not be clear about the exact route but you have a roadmap and can change directions as required. When you’re busy, you run around without a clue of what you’re even looking for. All you do is fill up your days on the fly without any roadmap.
4. Do you make time for YOU
When you’re productive, you include both rest time and fun time in your priorities and planning. When you’re busy, you don’t have time for anything but work and keep doing more stuff.
5. Do you take time to reflect
When you’re productive, you pause to celebrate wins – big and small. You take note of how far you’ve come, your current position and where you’re heading. You change tack frequently as you learn from your actions. When you’re busy, you “don’t have time for that”.
6. Have you put measures of success together
When you’re productive, you are clear on your measures of success and strive to meet them. When you’re busy, you have no idea what you would call a success.
Now that you know the differences, take charge of your mornings. If you start your day chasing to-do items and what others demand of you, you’ll develop the habit of being busy. If you decide what’s important, plan accordingly, and learn to be flexible and adapt when inevitable changes come up, you’ll develop the habit of being productive.
All the best!