6 Differences between Busy People and Productive People

Do you often feel that you are constantly busy with something, but not getting much done when you look back after a month? Or always feel like you never have enough time to complete all the tasks on your to-do list?

In today’s fast-paced and hectic world, many of us are always busy yet not productive. Yes, there is a difference between busy and productive. Check out these 7 differences between busy people and productive people. Take this chance to reflect and see which group you are in!

1. Busy people say yes to everything. Productive people know when to say no.

Busy people fill their schedule with things that keep them busy simply because they say yes to everything. Whereas productive people know only say yes after thinking it through, because:

  • They know every “yes” requires a certain amount of commitment later on.
  • They know their limit and not make empty promises that they can’t afford.
  • They also know the importance of saying no to requests that might lead people to the wrong path.

Sometimes, people has to learn to take “no” for an answer and it’s not a selfish act to spend your time in things that matter to you. To be productive, you must know the difference between “urgent” and “important”. Some tasks might be urgent but essentially not that important. So, instead of working on every single urgent task, take a step back and focus on getting what matters done.

2. Busy people follow every trend. Productive people see the bigger picture before doing something.

Many business owners tend to chase the craze and follow the latest marketing trend blindly without considering the big scheme of things. We are spoiled with choices these days and it’s important to evaluate the pros and cons before diving right into something. Don’t let the FOMO (fear of missing out) rule your mind and fall into the trap of doing something just for the sake of it.

Imagine if you follow every single trend there is in the market and not looking at the bigger picture, you might end up starting a new project every week and not getting any actual work done. Productive people know to consider the grand scheme of things and how to mitigate the risks that come with it before making any decisions.

3. Busy people work hard. Productive people work hard and work smart.

Busy people have no problem with working hard, but the problem is that they don’t work smart. They follow the same old way of doing things without exploring other alternatives that can improve efficiency. As a result, they end up working more but achieve less.

Meanwhile, productive people always looking for smarter ways to improve the process and make things better. They focus on being effective and efficient. Not only they constantly find the most optimal way to do something but also doing the smaller steps of a big project quickly. Eliminate the need to do unimportant tasks all along is great to improve efficiency while still delivering the same outcome.

4. Busy people multitask. Productive people focus on one thing at a time.

Busy people tend to multitask a lot. They try to do a 20 things at once and think that they are being productive for working on multiple tasks at the same time – switching between tabs on their browser and constantly checking on their inbox. It’s easy to fall for the illusion of being productive when you’re always doing something. But, you might be busy with unimportant stuff that doesn’t help with greater outcome.

Productive people focus on doing things that carry the most weight and would affect the outcome drastically. Even if they have to multitask, they know how to do it effectively by pairing less important task that doesn’t require much diversion with an important task. This helps them to stay focus on what matters the most and not distracted by other inconsequential tasks.

If you want to be more productive, try creating a to-do list and compare all the tasks, then re-arrange them according to the importance level before you start working on it.

5. Busy people try to do everything themselves. Productive people know how to delegate and use the right tools.

Everyone of us has only 24 hours in a day. It’s impossible to do everything by yourself especially when the workload is getting heavier or the business is expanding rapidly. When you’re trying to do every little task by yourself, you’ll eventually get burnt out and no energy left to work on the high-level planning.

Productive people know how and when to delegate tasks to those who can handle them. Having the right people in the team plays a vital role in this because you have to have the right people to delegate the tasks to. If not you’ll be spending more time to fix the mess and better off doing it yourself. Nevertheless, you have to know when to let go of certain tasks so that you can focus on the more important stuff.

6. Busy people keep trying to fit more things into their day. Productive people know keep their to-do list concise.

Busy people believe that getting as many things done as possible within the working hours is the right track to be productive. When they have 30 or 40 tasks in their to-do list, those uncompleted tasks will just end up on tomorrow’s to-do list and slowly snowball into a massive and unproductive list. Productive people know how much they can get done in a day and plan their tasks around it realistically. No point having a huge list full of unimportant tasks, instead have a concise one with only the important stuff on it and plan your day around it.

Find these tips useful? We have more hiring tips, workplace tips, and career advice on our blog. Don’t forget to check them out!

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