7 key differences between busy people and productive people
Situation: Bob and Alex are best friends. They both work at a big company; same position same hours and same salary. Yet Bob is always busy and miserable unlike Alex who is always chill and happy.
Why? What happened?
The answer is crystal clear: Bob is a busy person. Alex is a productive man. Now there is more to the topic.
1. Busy people overload their to-do list. Productive people keep it clean
“Always be closing.”
A famous quote from the 1992 film “Glengarry Glen Ross.” that has been associated with salespeople and sales motivation. But there is more to it. It is really about getting things done.
The real struggle is that busy people are always piling their to-do list. They take pride in having too many tasks.
Productive people, however, underpromise and overdeliver. They know it’s not about the quantity, it’s about the quality.
2. Busy people multitask. Productive people focus on one task and crush it
Answering emails, having an online meeting, assigning Jira tickets… you name it. Busy people are “geniuses” when it comes to multitasking.
Many job offers constantly state that one of the key criteria to be hired is your ability to multitask.
Many studies revealed that such a behavior kills your productivity.
As we previously recommended, ditching multitasking is one of the top ways to improve your productivity.
Productive people are aware that they need to focus on one task and nail it. They get that they are not superheroes. They are humans and there’s only so much they can truly achieve in a day.
3. Busy people let their busy schedule take over them. Productive people manage their schedule
“I am always busy.”
You hear that a lot. Busy people are always complaining about their busy schedule. They are complaining about how much work they have because they always say yes. They are complaining about how much tired they are. People around them feel annoyed listening to their drama.
Good luck trying to advise those workaholics to chill.
Productive people don’t let their schedule take over them. They know how to separate. In their book REMOTE: office not required, David Heinmeier Hansson and Jason fried, founders of Basecamp said that they ask their employees not to exceed 40 hours of work. The latter have also the possibility to distribute them as they please.
4. Busy people shame taking breaks. Productive people embrace breaks
Busy people see shame in taking breaks. They are the ones who leave the office late at night if they leave it to begin with.
Productive people know breaks are important. They know they should pace themselves. They know that sustainability is crucial. Health coach, Jenny Dempsey emphasizes on implementing wellness habits in the workplace while encouraging the employees to take care of themselves.
5. Busy people suffer from sleep deprivation. Productive people sleep well
Busy people constantly pull all nighters and they feel proud doing so. They are working. they don’t wanna disappoint their managers. They want to go ahead in their career.
Productive people know that your 8 hours of sleep are not destructive but rather mandatory for your own health
According to the sleep foundation, sleeping less than 8 hours will affect your health in the long run. When you stay up thinking that you are getting things done in the short term, you are increasing the debt on your body.
6. Busy people always say yes. Productive people know when to say no.
Busy people are over-committed.
It’s hard to turn down people I get it. But by constantly saying yes, you are only piling up your to-do list and risk to drive everything rogue.
Productive people think things through before saying yes. They are always looking at the bigger picture. They are not afraid to say no if needed.
7. Busy people burnout fast. Productive people build a sustainable system
Productive people have a strong morning routine. They are aware that work is a marathon not a sprint and that life is more than just “being at the office”. They have strong relationships within their social circle. They practice mindfulness and gratitude.
Busy people, however, are like food processors. They have one cycle of activity: work, work, work. They are never satisfied. They are always chasing the next big thing. They are living in a delusion they will never wake up from.
There is a fine line between playing it busy and being productive. Once you recognize the key differences between productive and busy you will deploy the right fix.
Whether you are an Alex or a Bob, you should be always looking for ways to increase your productivity. Make sure you do so by requesting your free Veamly account.