The Difference Between Busy People and Productive People

Are you a productive, focused person?

Or are you just ‘busy’?


When we describe ourselves as busy, it takes away the intention behind our priorities. Because the key to being less busy is to be more focused.

We all have the resources and opportunities we need to succeed, but without focus we won’t achieve anything. 

Because we don’t know where to prioritize our attention. Being focused is a question of effectiveness, by channeling all of your resources towards a particular task to achieve a particular outcome. 

When our lives feel cluttered or disorganized we’re rarely able to focus. Because we allow  demands on our time and attention to distract us, which takes our focus away from the most important tasks. We end up trying to multi-task and do too many things at once, all without impact.

Busy people…

  • add too many tasks to their to-do list and end up pushing most of them to the next day
  • have many priorities
  • focus on action
  • talk about how busy they are
  • talk about how little time they have and try to do 15 things at once
  • talk about how they will change

Productive people…

  • take a less-is-more approach by only accomplishing those that are important
  • have few priorities
  • focus on clarity before action
  • let their results do the talking
  • make time for what is important
  • focus place their focus on doing tasks that matter most as efficiently as possible
  • are making those changes

The first step to getting the most out of any task is to get organized. Decide what needs to be done first, take action towards fulfilling that task, accomplish it, then move on to your next. To be focused is to be systematic in doing things, one at a time.

To focus on your top 20% of activities, you must gain clarity about what those activities are. And ditch the goals or plans that no longer serve you. Instead, focus your energy and resources solely on that one thing that resonates with you.

Spend less time talking about what you will do and dedicate that time to creating the first step. It’s amazing how the universe listens to the person who stops talking and takes action…

Here’s what Tim Ferriss, titan of escaping the 9 to 5 and author of the Godfather of productivity books, The 4-Hour Work Week has to say:

And Joshua Fields-Milburn, one half of The Minimalists, has an interesting take on the concept of busyness:

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