What’s the difference between being busy and being productive? It may seem like a fine line at first, but especially when your goal is to advance your career, it’s important to understand the very real difference between the two.

It All Comes Down to Focus

The differences between busy people and productive people ultimately lead to focus and clarity. Once you understand and embrace this concept, the only thing you will be busy at is … being productive!

  • Busy people have many more priorities than productive people.

    Three or four priorities are realistic and achievable. Twenty-five are chaos! Apply the Pareto principle, whereby 80 percent of your desired results come from 20 percent of your activity. Busy people seem to never have time. Productive people manage their time for things that help them reach their goals.

  • Busy people say “yes” quickly, while productive people take their time.

    Consider Warren Buffet’s definition of integrity: “You say no to most things.” Otherwise, you divide your life into millions of little pieces spread out over other people’s priorities. Make sure your values are clear and that your time is spent serving them.

  • Busy people easily lose focus as they function on actions.

    Productive people focus on clarity. To focus on the top 20 percent of activities, you must gain clarity about what they are for you. Keep a diary and take five minutes to reflect on the past day. What worked for you and what did not? What inspired you?

  • Busy people talk about how busy they are instead of making time for what’s important.

    Productive people let their results do the talking. Feeling productive is not the same as being productive. For example, published authors don’t spent a lot of time talking about their next book; they are focused on writing it. Past performance is the only good indicator of future success.

  • While busy people want other people to be just as busy, productive people simply want others to be effective.

    Busy managers measure hours of activity. Productive managers measure output. Busy people are frustrated by others looking relaxed and enjoying their work, while productive people feel the opposite. They love to contribute to environments where others can excel.

Spend less time dwelling on what you should or will do and dedicate it to taking the first step – whether that means updating your resume, calling a contact, setting up an informational interview or researching a potential employer. Also, consider partnering with a recruitment professional who specializes in your chosen career field. The PrideStaff Modesto team can help. To learn more, read our related posts or contact us today.


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