Busy Vs Productive - Which one are you?
Being busy was one of the things I aspired to be. This was during my days in college and during the struggling days of my life. This was mostly because people around me were busy and all I would listen to them say was how busy they are. It disturbed me to the core and somewhere made me feel so worthless, because no matter what I did I would always find myself “free”.
I’d come to believe that being busy and being productive was the same. Never did it cross my mind that there’s a big difference between the two.
Yes! they’re not the same…
Are you shocked too!?
I can Imagine…
I was working at this place where we had to work for long hours, but we didn’t produce any definitive result or made a specific progress or change. It was a night mare to work at such a place, I was in fact busy and the initial days were fine but slowly it started to annoy me and stress me out. I kept asking myself if this is what being busy really is, why is it such a big deal and more importantly why do people like it so much? Being busy in some way had become this norm and an evaluation tool and those who were laid back or let’s just be blunt and say, who were free, were assumed to be worthless. I’ve been one of the worthless one’s as well.
In today’s times with the internet and social media, there’s enough evidence of how “busy” people are…never mind that they’re on Instagram posting away. This evidence or public display of busyness has disturbed many many people. At the beginning it did disturb me and I kept wondering why aren’t I so busy? But in some ways, I’m glad I’m not “Busy” I’ve found a way to be productive with my time and schedule and I'm doing okay.
I was coaching a client quite recently, who told me she wanted to be just as busy as this woman she was following on Instagram. She kept telling me
“When will I become as busy as she is?” or “How will I be as busy as she is?”
Another client who bought a wellness course from me and worked on it told me, she is self-aware but wants to be busy but somehow always seems to find so much free time.
I wasn’t quite surprised because I used to feel and say exactly what they were saying and feeling. If you feel this way too then you’ll find this blog post quite useful.
In today’s post I want to share what I’ve learnt regarding being productive. And how different can it be from being busy.
So, let’s get started.
Focus one thing at a time – What do I mean by this? It means to be fully present to the task at hand. For e.g., when working on a computer a busy person will have many tabs open and would ideally be juggling all of them but an effective person has only those tabs open which really need their attention or are useful to them. When I write an article, I usually take a look at the current research on the topic I’m about to write about, it’s a part of the process and helps me get the facts right but earlier I would have a million tabs open that has got nothing to do with the task at hand. Similarly, in your other activities, try to stay focused on the task at hand. This doesn’t mean you can’t do more things in day, in fact working in this manner gives you more than enough time to focus on all the other things that require your attention.
Small tasks will lead to big results – This is something where most people find it difficult. In my career I’ve trained, coached and worked with many women who tend to work extremely harder and not smarter. They work long hours and still don’t seem to get much work done. The problem isn’t the task it’s the way you work towards it. People tend to work on a big task which occupies a lot of time, you tend to work long hours, skip meals, put your body through a really tough time and don’t necessarily achieve the goal. The way to go about this is to break bigger tasks into smaller ones. For e.g., Publishing a blog post for instance is a huge task. Even though each person does it differently this requires a lot of time and energy and focus but when you break it into smaller tasks, you’re more likely to publish it on time and have an amazing post.
Deal with distractions – You’re busy with your work and listen to a notification. You’re most likely to pick your phone up look at that and without realizing spend a good 15 to 20 minutes just on your phone. Isn’t that true? I’ve certainly faced it many times. Distractions like these need to be minimized or controlled for your own good. I once had a client who told me “You mean I shouldn’t use my phone at all!?” Of course, not. Distractions aren’t bad, but they are distractions for a reason. So, the things that distract you while doing something important, put them off for later.
Schedule time for your tasks – This saves a lot of time. Trust me. When you prepare a to-do list. Go ahead and try to add timing to each task. For e.g., Instagram post – 10 minutes. It can be for all your tasks. To-do lists are made either in the morning or the night before, when you add the time to each task it gives you an idea to help you stay more focused and get the job done.
Learn to say “No” – One thing that really makes a difference between a busy person and a productive person is that a busy person will take on a lot and doesn’t know when to stop or say no, but a productive person tends to take only so much that they can do. They are aware of how much focus they can spend on each task and tend to take up projects or work only based on how much they can do. In other words, productive people say no but busy people say yes to almost everything. This little difference can really create a big impact in your success.
Take breaks – Look, this is one thing that most people cannot understand. I didn’t either and sometimes I’ve got to remind myself. Busy people seem to forget or ignore or give very little priority to breaks. They work long hours and even if their mind is charged up, their body is exhausted. A productive person on the other hand tends to take breaks after a while to probably stay hydrated or have a cuppa coffee/tea or read something or to just sit in nothingness and enjoy the weather.
Since busy people are all over the place, they lose out on what matters to them the most. They experience imbalance which curbs their productivity eventually leaving them unhappy and messy. I always complained about how less busy a person I am, little did I know that its actually a very good thing. Now that I know it, I truly enjoy being productive.
Yes, the 3 C’s - Comparing, Criticizing and Competing - do tend to pop up every now and then but that’s okay. You learn to understand and move on from that.
Now that we’ve taken a look at the differences, I’d like to ask you, do you want to be a Productive person or a busy one?
Do let me know in the comments below if this article helped you and I hope henceforth you’d try to progress toward being productive rather than being busy.
It’ll mean the world to me if you share this article with your friends and loved ones who can benefit from this information.
Thank you for stopping by :)
Pause, Breathe, Dream!