Are you often busy, but when you look back, you can’t help but wonder – where has all the time has gone?
In today’s world, it is so easy to be busy rather than being productive.
That’s because we have so many notifications, alerts, to-dos and miscellaneous events screaming for our attention. We could simply just be doing things, rushing from place to place, clearing item after item and so on – which may largely be unproductive in the long run.
Far too many of us are good at being busy, but not at being productive. Busy is an easy way out, because all you’ve to do is bury yourself in tasks. Productivity requires you to think consciously about your actions to achieve more in life.
1. Busy people work hard. Productive people work hard and smart.
Busy people often work linearly without ever considering better ways to complete it.
Productive people, on the other hand, are always on the lookout for better ways to finish their work and put their time to better use.
2. Busy people get drowned in the details. Productive people keep their eyes on the macro and micro.
Busy people often get drowned in the details, where it’s more important to pick one and go.
Productive people focus on perfecting those things that would make a big difference to their end goal. For miscellaneous tasks – they delegate, outsource, apply 80/20 rule or totally shun them!
3. Busy people say “yes” to everything. Productive people say “yes” selectively.
Saying “no” makes a big difference between busyness and productivity. Busy people never say “no”: they say “yes” to everything!
Productive people say “yes” very selectively.
- They know that each “yes” today will take up their time later on.
- They also know that many yeses to the wrong things, even if they are small, will eventually lead them to the wrong path.
- Saying “no” is about protecting this limited resource called “time” so that you can use it for the things that matter.
4. Busy people jump onto every trend. Productive people evaluate the pros/cons before doing something.
There’s nothing wrong with following trends if you enjoy them. But recognize that societal trends are largely market movements. When one trend is over, another will take its place. It never ends.
Just because you have more options today doesn’t mean that it’s good. Be aware of mind traps. Many things today are distractions and do not help further our lives. Think about the value of what you do before you jump into it.
5. Busy people always have excuses not to work on their goals. Productive people make time for them.
Busy people do not have time for their goals. When asked why, they say: “I’m busy.” “I don’t have time.” “I have this other urgent thing, so I’m going to put off this task now (even though it’s going to make a huge impact on my life).” These are legitimate reasons if they happen once in a while.
But busy people never have time. They always have a reason to put off their goals, which is why they are always busy — they are not able to rise above their “busyness” to become productive.
6. Busy people try to do everything themselves. Productive people use the rights tools and resources to help them.
Busy people try to do everything themselves, thereby not getting much done. When we engage in a zillion little tasks, we get mentally drained with little mental space to focus on the high-level stuff.
Productive people delegate/seek help as and when required and focus only on the bigger picture.
Being busy is a good escape sometimes, because you don’t need to think. But there’s only so much one could possibly do in 24 hours.
Humans work better as a collective, not alone. Humans achieve more when working together, not in silos. Hence it is better to leverage help often and say “no” to unproductive things generously.