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11 Differences between Being Busy and Productive

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busy worker

Summary: Being caught up in busy work does not necessarily mean the work is being done effectively or efficiently. Learn the difference between being busy and productive.

You know the person we are talking about. The one running around like a chicken with their head cut off. They are always moving around almost at a jog around the office, frazzled, worrying about something, sighing constantly. They are involved in every project at work, have to-do lists a mile long where they are frequently crossing things off, and always saying they can’t handle things right now. But this person is probably not the same one that is talked about for coming up with a new system that will save time and money at work or is leading the new branch of the business. They may be the same person, but more often they are two different people.

Even though an employee gets a lot of work done quickly, they may not be the most productive member of the team. There are 11 key differences between those that are busy and those that are productive.

  1. Productivity is viewed differently. Productive people don’t focus on the checklist and instead place more emphasis on contributions to the organization.
  2. The understanding of which tasks matter is different. A task that is urgent is not always the most important. Productive people know that delivering value is the most important part of any job. They also have the courage to stop wasting time on things that bring no return on investment such as conference calls and pointless meetings.
  3. Prioritization is done differently. Busy people zip through the low value projects for the company. Productive people prioritize effectively. In order to be more productive, take ten minutes at the end of each day to prioritize the next day.
  4. Details are understood differently. Working as fast as possible to get everything done will result in a lot of missed details, many of which are important details. Productive workers know they need to focus on one task, get it done appropriately, and then move on to the next one.
  5. Productive people know when to say no. Before agreeing to anything, consider how urgent the request is and your availability. If you are unable to take on something new at the time or if someone else is better suited to handle the request, then don’t worry about saying no.
  6. Productive people handle emails differently. They don’t sit around waiting for emails to come in or fret about emails that may be sitting in their inbox waiting to be read. Turn off notifications and stick to a schedule of checking your emails at a few specific times every day.
  7. Delegation is handled differently. Busy people often isolate themselves even though they could benefit from some help. Delegate tasks that someone else can do better, faster, or for less money. This will give you more time to focus on what you can do so that you do them better.
  8. Productivity does not work with chaos. Clutter causes stress and allows things to get lost. Keep a clean work environment so that you keep a clean mind.
  9. Productive people take time to unwind and reflect. Make a schedule that includes time to plan the next day, reflect on the past day, and develop your abilities. Stick to that schedule.
  10. The big picture is viewed differently. Productive people are able to look at the big picture with the goals of the company in mind. They are able to see each individual project and how they fit into the needs of the company. When there is something that does not fit in, they can address their concern or the lack of solutions effectively.
  11. Productive people find the most efficient way to do things. They take a step back, examine what is being accomplished, and determine if there is a better way of doing it.

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11 Differences between Being Busy and Productive by
Authored by: Amanda Griffin