The Two Kinds of “Busy”

“Workaholics aren’t heroes. They don’t save the day, they just use it up. The real hero is already home because she figured out a faster way to get things done.” – Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson, Rework

Is your doing busy or productive?
Is your doing purpose-driven or a begrudged response to an external stimulus?
Are you impacting the day or just using it up?
Is your doing in pursuit of a false hustle where you’re expending your energy on tasks that don’t ultimately help you reach your goals?

There are two kinds of “busy.” Which one are you?

Busy people talk. Productive people show.
Busy people are aways regaling those within earshot of how busy they are and what they are going to do. Productive people don’t say much. If something needs to be said, they let their achievements do the talking.

Busy people says yes to everything. Productive people say yes strategically.
Productive people know that when you say yes to everything, you’re letting other people determine what the priorities of your life should be.

Busy people use time to determine activity. Productive people use their values to determine activity
Productive people have clearly established values and their decisions are dictated by those values. If health is a value then time will always be made to work out. If family is a value then time will always be made to spend quality time with the

Busy people multitask. Productive people single task.
Productive people know that multitasking wastes valuable energy. They focus on single tasking that makes them more productive by allowing them to be fully immersed in the task at hand. Their motto is “If it’s worth doing, Do it well, Do it once.”

Busy people measure time. Productive people measure output.
Productive people are mission oriented. They know that results matter more than the time spent to achieve them. So they measure the output of their effort and adjust accordingly when it’s not as desired.

Busy people manage time. Productive people manage themselves.
Productive people know that “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” so they seek to manage themselves to ensure that what needs to be done in pursuit of their goals gets done. They are working for themselves and not to please others.

Busy people work hard. Productive people work smart.
“There is nothing quite so useless, as doing with great efficiency, something that should not be done at all.” ~ Peter Drucker

Busy people ignore rest. Productive people embrace rest and recuperation and recognize it as a key element of excellence.
Busy people view exhaustion as a badge of honor, ignoring the unsustainability of a life without rest. Productive people know that optimal performance cannot be maintained without rest so they regularly schedule breaks.

Busy people addresses the urgent. Productive people focus on the important.
Busy people lack focus so they view all tasks as urgent. Urgent tasks are falsely perceived as important, but when analyzed, add nothing towards the pursuit of one’s goals. Productive people only focus on important tasks that will get them closer to their goals.

People like the idea of busyness because it feels better than boredom but a busy life does not a hero make. True heroes are not busy. True heroes are productive. To live a heroic productive life you need to have a clear view of what the goal of your work is. Productivity, well executed, will leave you feeling fulfilled, energized, healthy and happy.

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