Are you productive or just busy?

2 Minute Read

Everywhere we go these days people have been telling us, “I’m so busy!”  Our first thought is “Great! It’s good to be busy.” But then we have to ask, “Are you busy or productive?” There is a difference.

How do you know if you are doing the right things at the right time?

First look at your priorities.

What is most important to you and your organization? What is your vision, your mission, and your purpose? Think about what your position’s purpose is?  Who do you serve?

All too often we see people who are not connecting the activities they do on a daily basis to the mission and purpose of the organization. And some don’t even connect those activities to their personal goals. They’re just “busy.” People tend to “just do” and not look at the big picture.

Second, identify your high payoff activities.

Of all the things you do, what pays you and your organization the most? Challenge yourself to complete your list of high payoff activities. List five or six things. What behaviors do you need to focus on to gain optimum results? And just as important, what behaviors or activities do you need to stop doing?

So ask yourself…are you productive or just busy?


It’s important to identify and spend as much time as possible in your high payoff activities. Equally important is getting the people you lead to understand what their high payoff activities are and to spend as much time on them as possible.

It’s sometimes hard to identify what’s most important. Need some thought starters?

  • Planning, organizing, and goal setting
  • Communicating expectations and providing feedback
  • Training and delegating
  • Selling your product/service or providing the service
  • Tracking and evaluating results

Many people have the mistaken idea that if they are busy they are productive. Some believe if they are putting out fires, solving problems, or doing things efficiently they are productive.  Being productive is more about planning, preparing, executing, and preventing problems.  Maximum productivity is making something happen with as little effort as possible. So ask yourself…are you productive or just busy?

Looking for ways to increase your productivity? Look no further, click here!

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