If I asked you, “Do you think there is a difference between being busy and being productive?”, what would you respond? There is a common misconception, especially in the workplace, that being busy and being productive are one. As long as one is busy, they may automatically conclude they are being productive. This idea can be seen from the employer’s point of view as well. As long as the employee is kept busy, the employer may feel as though this business is enabling their productivity.
So how is someone that is productive, different from those that are just busy? Let’s see!
Long To-Do vs Smart To-Do
Those that are busy are more likely to fill their day with endless lists of tasks. Productivity is displayed when a to-do list is not just filled with an endless amount of tasks to complete, but filled with tasks that are important and necessary to be completed for the day. Don’t just have things to do, have a mission.
Urgent vs Important
So these two may seem the same, but they are actually different. Those that are productive know that there is a difference between tasks that are important, and tasks that are urgent. Someone that is busy is more likely to be distracted by all of these tasks at once, rather than giving more attention to those that are urgent. Be able to differentiate between what needs to be done now, and what just needs to be done.
Distractions vs Systems
Focus! Did you know that research shows actions such as compulsively checking your email or phone when it buzzes can lower IQ? Those that are more productive create systems such as blocking out a specific time slot in their day to check their email, rather than becoming easily distracted while working.
Multitasking vs Focus
Many people show off their abilities to multitask, it has become this amazing skill not everyone has acquired. Those that are productive are able to expend all of their energy on an important task. They make sure it is completed as best as it can be. They do multitask, but in a way that is efficient and does not take away from their quality of work. When multitasking, pair important tasks with less important ones (i.e pairing taking notes about a business plan, while waiting for an important meeting to begin)
Door Open vs Door Closed
Like they say, a man that chases two chicken at once catches none. While young it is okay and sometimes even important to dabble in different responsibilities. There comes a time when this works more against you, than in your favor. Juggling multiple responsibilities at once, doesn’t allow you to give any of them one-hundred percent of your time, effort, and focus. Productive people let go of goals that are less important to them, not feasible, or to practical. “Focus on what resonates to your core”.
Gimme a Break
In a previous article, we went over how research shows those that are most successful take breaks. People that are busy do not take breaks, and actually find breaks to be unproductive. Those that are productive, know the benefits of taking breaks and giving their mind time to reboot. Take some time out of your day, even just for five minutes, to listen to music, go for a walk, meditate, or even play a game.
Let’s ditch the busy bee, and be more productive!
Article written by GUADS member Breanna, with contributions from inc.com