Have you noticed how very busy people are these days? It’s like some sort of epidemic. The “Busy” Epidemic * People are working very hard, long hours in their business because they are busy. * Parents don’t have enough time to play with kids because they are busy. * We don’t have time to nurture important relationships because we are busy. * We don’t have the quality of life we would like because we are exhausted from being busy.

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Are you being Busy or Productive?

Are you being Busy or Productive?Have you noticed how very busy people are these days?

It’s like some sort of epidemic.

The “Busy” Epidemic

  • People are working very hard, long hours in their work because they are busy.
  • People don’t have time or to nurture important relationships because they are busy.
  • People don’t have the quality of life they would like because they are exhausted from being busy!

Where is being busy getting you?

If everyone is so busy, surely you would expect that people are experiencing phenomenal success in their life and work.

But here is the thing:

Many people aren’t.


Being busy doesn’t equate to producing results.

Often being busy is actually just being in fire fighting mode. Busy often has no strategy or structure to it. It often isn’t linked to vision, goals and action plans.

And when that happens you are just running in circles. You might be busy, but you aren’t productive or effective.

So, take a step back and look at the way you operate in your life work and relationships.

Are you busy or are you productive?

If you think you pretty much fall into the “busy” gang most of the time, it’s time to make some changes. It’s time to shift yourself into the “productive” gang.

For some tips on improving your productivity check out 10 Tips to Improve Productivity

If you are thinking this isn’t such a big deal and being permanently busy is OK, then keep this in mind:

Those people who are most successful in any area of life are productive more than they are busy.

Are you?

So, over the next few days just observe yourself and your busyness.

  • Where is it getting you?
  • How does it make you feel?
  • Is it achieving the results you want for yourself in your life, work and relationships?

Each day ask yourself “Am I being busy or Productive”

Make a pact with yourself to reduce busyness and increase productivity.

Do you get caught in the “busy” trap? What’s your view on the impact of being permanently busy versus productive? Share your views in the comments below.

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  • Heather

    Many of my clients come to me because they find themselves permanently busy but not getting the results they require. It’s easy to become very busy but lose focus and productivity. In fact, the missing ingredient for productivity is focus. Regain your focus, and more often than not, productivity increases.
    Becoming a parent or new business owner takes the demands on your time to a different level and intensity!

  • Heather, demands on time for parents on business is certainly one of the top challenges to deal with. I think what you are saying here highlights the fact that it is so important to stop, take a step back and proactively choose what tasks you spend your time on, when and why. Just taking the step of stopping and stepping back can be a challenge for many parents but it is a crucial part of the process to becoming more productive.

  • Bill Park

    I find that many people really don’t understand how to be productive because they have been taught to be busy. Alarm goes off>>>go to work>>>bell rings>>>go to lunch>>>bell rings>>>go to work>>>bell rings>>>go home. Seth Godin had a recent post on doing better vs. doing more that takes a slight twist on this….http://bit.ly/9pvn0N. It is clear that “Better” beats “More” and “Productive” beats “Busy.”

  • Hi Bill, I think your comment hits the nail on the head – many folk do what they do out of preconditioned habits. The trick is to start questioning ourselves and working out/learning what new habits would serve us better.

  • Martin

    Being productive requires more sustained focus. Being busy only requires a certain anxiety. One feels like progress and has deliverables to show for it. The other can be exhausting since it feels little is achieved

  • Hi Martin, as you point out, both states trigger very different feelings. I guess that should be our early warning system to check if we are in the right “mode”.

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  • 1010 Park Place

    I know how to be productive, but some days I choose busy, even when it’s crucial for me to check off my to-do list. The real question for me is “why?”

  • The “why” can be different for different people, but, for many people there is a strong link to deeply ingrained habit. Looking at our habits and what triggers them can be a powerful way to understand our own why so that we can construct new habits that serve us better.

  • I am so convinced that productivity took a nose dive with social media popularity. I don’t see how people can spend so much time on SM and still get work done.

  • Very true. And if it is not managed it becomes a habit that not only destroys productivity and personal effectiveness but can also have a detrimental impact on things like relationships, achieving goals, health etc.

  • Totally agree, Carol. I cringe to think of the hours I’ve frittered away on Facebook. And now Instagram. Thank God it’s only humans who use social media. Can you imagine if the animal world did?! Silly, but think about it.

  • Your point reminds us that it is essential to set boundaries and standards for ourselves around use of social media so we manage it, so that it doesn’t manage us!!

  • I’m often busy, but have a hard time focusing which means I start all kinds of things then don’t end up finishing anything. It’s something that I’ve been trying to work on.

  • Leanne@crestingthehill

    I think busyness gives people an excuse when they are trying to justify how they’ve used their time. If they say “I’ve been so busy” it sounds like they have been productive……..even when they haven’t achieved much at all. Our society seems to worship busyness and stress – neither are particularly good things!

  • Rena, focussing on forming habits is a powerful way to deal with this sort of thing. An interesting book on this subject is “The Power of habits – why we do what we do in life and business” by Charles Duhigg. Worth a read.

  • Yes, those things do seem to have become part of modern day life. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We each need to take personal responsibility to change our reality. Well said Leanne.