Less Busy, More Productive – Is It Possible?

Less Busy, More ProductiveOur lives seem to be getting busier each day; from the time we wake up, there are endless tasks to be done… work, meetings, emails, errands, chores,.. to many other routine things. Irrespective of all the advice on "Get More Done In Less Time", being busy has become a norm.

In reality,

  • Just because you're "busy" doesn't mean you're getting real work done.

  • Being busy creates stress (most of the time), while productivity creates a feeling of accomplishment.

  • Being busy makes time fly. On the other hand, if you are productive, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much you got done.

Indeed, there is a very distinct difference between being busy and being productive. To some, That may be a blinding glimpse of the obvious. Yet so many continue to be busy, busy, busy and at the end of the day, you wonder why you have not achieved much; why you are not as productive as you’d like to be.

Although you can’t be productive every moment, being aware of the difference between being busy and being productive can make you more effective and help you get more done. Continual busyness eventually leads to stress, particularly if results are minimal.

I don’t have a sophisticated productivity solution to offer. My suggestion is rather simple..
With each activity ask yourself:

1. “Is this the best use of my time?”

If the answer is yes, you are on the right path.
For those of you who said, "No",
1. Do something more productive or
2. Continue to do whatever it is you’re doing, but at least acknowledge that you’re not being productive!

2. “What am I avoiding doing right now that would really help me be more productive? ”

Trust me, if you really look at that question and answer it honestly, you’ll walk away with some pretty good information for what you should be really doing.

I invite you to consider devoting a few minutes today to check over your task list, or to reflecting on how you spent your time last week, and ask… “Am I busy, or am I productive?”

Do you have any suggestions for folks who are struggling to be less busy and more productive?

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alex - unleashreality said...

"Just because you're "busy" doesn't mean you're getting real work done"
- SO true!!

reminds me of one of my favourite "tim ferrissisms" - "am i being productive or just active?"

often we fool ourselves into thinking we're doing something by being busy.

stupid creatures us humans :)

Davina said...

Hi Shamelle. I have to say that #2 really speaks to me: What are we avoiding that would help us be more productive? I've found that when I am avoiding doing something, I am not focused on what I actually am doing. This is a good question to ask, because once we get "that thing" done, we can return to focus.

Oscar - freestyle mind said...

Regarind tips n 2 I want to share a wonderful quote from a self development author: "Are you inventing things to do to avoid the important?". I suggest to write it where you can see it often.


Mark said...

Excellent advice. We do live in a world where busy is often considered productive, however more often than not busy decreases productivity and creativity. We must step back and observe the ways we are busy and ask the questions that you have suggested.

Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coaching said...

Thanks -- it's true, I think a lot of the effort we find ourselves making is really to avoid a task or part of our lives we don't want to deal with -- I certainly used to be a workaholic to avoid other aspects of my life.

John said...

The key is not to stay busy, but to do what you enjoy doing. Do what you have to do and do what you want to do, but don't do what you feel you should be doing. 'I should be busy right now' and 'I have have too much free time'are statements that show signs of needing to appear like a worker.

You're not fooling anyone by being busy. It'll show in the quality of your work.

Good post.

Mark Foo | TheBigDreamer.com said...

Ha, this is so true! I've been guilty of this often. Not only does it make you less efficient, it also brings down your confidence level because you know that you can do better but you're not. I agree with Alex that sometimes we humans are stupid creatures.



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