Too Busy? 8 Differences between Busy and Productive

I’ve noticed that the answer to “How are you?” has changed from the polite, autopilot “I’m fine, thanks and you?” to “I’m so busy, and you?”

Every time I speak to my Mom, her answer is always: “I’m just so busy!”

I was laughing with a friend and peer in the industry. I sometimes feel like event invitations should come with scripts. The script would read like this:

Bump into person you only really see at these events. “Hey! Good to see you again. How are you?”

“Oh my gosh, I’m so busy, but things are going soooo well. Just so busy. Too busy!”

Copy, paste and repeat for everyone.

I don’t for one second doubt it. We are all busy. I don’t know one person who isn’t. The problem is it seems contrived, doesn’t it?

What happened to a world of slow conversations? Conversations that unfold without a hurry, conversations with pregnant pauses and silences that we don’t have to rush to fill?

How did we create a world, where we have so much more to do with less time for ourselves, less time to just… be?

I feel like we’re no longer human beings, we’re human doings.busy-quote

I’ve noticed it more and more. So much so, that I am doing my level best to stop myself from automatically replying: “I’m so busy.” I’m trying to answer genuinely and not say things like: “I’m good, thanks. A little tired from a non-stop week, but I’m looking forward to xyz that I’m working on.” Or, just answer how I’m feeling and focus on something positive happening in my life.

I don’t have the magical answer of how to load less onto our plates and how to even time manage that, but I think we need to find ways to become more productive with our time, than simply just being busy.

Here are 8 differences between busy people and productive people.

  1. Busy people want to look like they have a mission. Productive people have a mission for their lives.
  2. Busy people say yes quickly. Productive people say yes slowly. I remember reading an article where Warren Buffet said that the definition of integrity is saying no to most things.
  3. Busy people have many priorities. Productive people have fewer priorities.nobody-is-too-busy
  4. Busy people focus on action. Productive people focus on clarity before action. By being clear about what you need to focus on, you can then do only the task at hand and not get side tracked.
  5. Busy people keep all doors open. Productive people close doors. Having options like: taking a new cooking class, learning Greek, and starting a new business might all be lovely, but if you don’t focus and let go of all the options, chances are I’m not going to manage one of those things. By making one a priority, I’ll get that done and then be able to move onto the next on the list.
  6. Busy people talk about how busy they are. Productive people let their results do the talking.
  7. Busy people talk about how little time they have. Productive people make the time for what is important.
  8. Busy people multitask. Productive people focus. This goes hand in hand with #4.


Do you have ways to manage your time better, to be productive rather than busy? I’d love you to share them.


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  • Reply Sherene

    This is so true!! Definitely going to make an effort not to talk about being busy, and try to focus on the positivity rather!! Have a happy day x 🙂

    November 8, 2016 at 6:35 am
    • Reply BaileySchneider

      Thanks Sherene 🙂 Appreciate you reading xx

      November 8, 2016 at 8:17 am
  • Reply Liezel Malherbe

    Love this article. And I’m proper guilty of this. I agree though that when you start to prioritise you start making time for what is important. I also think that lists, meditation and moments of quiet planning all help to get rid of the frantic runnarounds. Thanks for the post!

    November 8, 2016 at 12:13 pm
    • Reply BaileySchneider

      I really really need to start taking meditation seriously. I keep seeing that word crop up all the time. It’s such a sign to practise it properly and get more involved. I always say I don’t have time to – how ironic! Thanks for the reminder too x

      November 8, 2016 at 12:16 pm
  • Reply Christelle

    I’m not the best at organising my life, but I’m very productive when it comes to reading. I read about 60 350-800page books per year.

    I never leave the house without a book / my tablet and whenever I am in a queue or waiting for something even if it is 30 seconds, I read.
    Everytime that I think of checking social media, I pick up my book instead.
    At work, I don’t talk crap with my colleagues, I read.
    I’m very lucky to be able to read in a moving car, so I always let the other person drive so that I can read.
    I’ve stopped watching mindless tv shows and just read instead. And whenever my family’s conversation bores me, I read (they understand).

    Now that I think about it, I might come off as a bit rude and anti-social sometimes…. but I have many “foot in mouth” moments, so it might be for the best…

    November 9, 2016 at 10:51 am
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