When someone asks how you are, do you automatically respond with, “So busy; how are you?” Don’t feel bad, if you do. I’ve been known to say it myself if I’m being honest. Somewhere along the way, busy became expected. Worse yet, busy became respected.
I was raised in a busy household. Even though there was usually no reason for the breakneck pace, everything had to either be done right now or scheduled in between other largely meaningless tasks. My first memory of feeling busy was in fourth grade. I was stressed about getting everything done before bed. I was trying to practice piano, go to choir practice, finish reading a book for school and complete a book report on said book. I was 10 years old, and I was already wishing for more hours in the day.
I thought this was normal. I grew up believing busy meant productive. It wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I finally realized the two are very different, and busy is actually the enemy of productive.
FIVE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BUSY AND PRODUCTIVE PEOPLE
1. Productive people are chasing their goals.
Busy people just talk about chasing their goals.
Productive people embrace the journey to reach their goals. Will there be bumps in the road? Probably. Does that mean they’re failures? Absolutely not. Productive people understand that the road to success isn’t always a b-line, and that’s okay.
Busy people are full of self-doubt. They attempt to hide this doubt with a hefty helping of over-confidence. Think of the people you know. Do you meet up for coffee and only hear the highlight reel? Focusing on the positive is one thing, but overcompensating is another.
2. Productive people say no sometimes.
Busy people always say yes.
Productive people avoid overcommitting. They prioritize what’s important and delegate or delete additional tasks.
Busy people say yes to every opportunity and request. They wear themselves thin, and they’re ultimately helping more productive people to achieve their goals rather than achieving their own. It’s not that productive people never say yes, it’s that they only say yes when it’s a genuinely good fit.
3. Productive people make time for what’s important.
Busy people talk about how they “don’t have time.”
Productive people understand prioritizing not only what needs to be done but also what’s important. The Eisenhower Method is a perfect example of how this can be used in daily life. I use it in my life and swear by it!
Busy people make excuses. Not having time is an excuse, and it’s one of my biggest pet peeves! We all have the same amount of time in a day. If it matters to you, you’ll make time.
4. Productive people let their results speak.
Busy people talk about how busy they are.
Productive people don’t tell you all that they’re going to do. They do it. This is important because as the old adage goes, “Actions speak louder than words.”
Busy people tell you how busy they are. They’re going to do A, B, and C. They have so much to do! But truly, what they’ve done is a better indicator of what they will do.
5. Productive people want others to be productive.
Busy people want others to be busy.
Productive people get it. They understand balance and love seeing others be productive. They want you to enjoy life as you work toward your goals.
Busy people are frustrated by productive people. They don’t understand the importance of striking a balance. Busy people want others to feel busy and overwhelmed.
STOP THE GLORIFICATION OF BUSY
Busy is the enemy, you guys. If you’re stuck in the cycle of busy, don’t worry! It isn’t too late to get out! Begin by making small changes. Each step should bring you closer to where you want to be.