It does make a difference. Sometimes we may fall in the first group not even realizing it. It is not only less effective, but it could cause stress to the person and people around. And the result is … being busy. Here are the 11 differences outlined by the article’s author – Conor Neill.
- Busy people want to look like they have a mission. Productive people in fact have a mission. The people who are occupied show off confidence in their action, even if the goal and the destination is not clear to them. The productive people do not really care if people see doubt in their action, because they are clear on the destination.
- Busy people have many priorities. Productive people have few priorities. A small number of priorities looks like there are priorities. But if you have 20 priorities it already looks like a mess. Here comes a good parallel with the Pareto Principle – 80% of your productivity comes from 20% of your activity.
- Busy people say yes quickly while productive people say yes slowly. Every time we agree and say yes to something, we tore our time and resources apart and submit to other people’s priorities. A sane advice on integrity here – let your values be clear, and let your time serve your values.
- Busy people focus on action. Productive people focus on clarity. Referring to the Pareto principle again – to focus on the top 20% activities one must have clarity on them. A good advice is to keep a diary, note down what worked and what did not, so that you are self aware on what is productive. Master your life experience that way.
- Busy people keep all doors open. Productive people close doors. This one seems related to rule #3 (personal opinion). Letting go various possibilities allows you to set focus on feasible ones. We also come down to rule #2 – You can’t have many priorities. Many priorities are not priorities.There is obviously something wrong if there are many.
- Busy people talk about how busy they are. Productive people let results speak for themselves. Talking about doing something is not the same as doing the thing. Feeling productive is not the same as being productive. That’s the case, more or less.
- Busy people explain they lack time. Productive people make time for what is important. Productive people try not to make excuses. Practicing excuses makes you better at excuses. The principle is – if an action supports your mission you do it. If it does not, you don’t. Better sit still and relax than doing something out of your priorities.
- Busy people multitask. Productive people focus. The author refers to the Pomodoro Technique. It is a time management method. A task is broken into 25 minutes intervals, separated by short breaks. If we cannot finish a cycle and got distracted by something, then start over. How many cycles one could finish that way?
- Busy people respond quickly to emails. Productive people take their time. If you respond to every email you are dividing your priorities into many others people priorities. I would argue here – responding quickly (at least some initial reaction) might be an essential part of your job duties.
- Busy People want the others to be the same. Productive people want others to be effective. Busy managers measure hours, productive managers measure output. A busy oriented person might even be frustrated seeing other people to be relaxed, calmed, enjoying they work. In a fact, the productive managers would like to have exactly that kind of workplace atmosphere. On the contrary, busy people want to be valued for their effort, not for their result.
- Busy people talk about how they will change. Productive people make those changes. Spend less time talking and make the first step. Make the best out of your potential. With your age going onwards, there should be a gradual shift from ‘having potential’ towards have done and accomplished things.
Finally, a nice citation from the article”Time is limited. If I can make good use of it, I’ll be much more successful. So I’m going to be more productive.”