Being Busy Vs. Being Productive – What is your type?

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Sukhdeep Singh

Sukhdeep Singh

Write Something To Right Something

Passionate about playing with words. Sukhdeep is a Post Graduate in Finance. Besides penning down ideas, he is an expert online marketing consultant and a speaker.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Abraham Lincoln

“I am busy.” The biggest lie of the century 21st. The fact is, we are not busy climbing mountains, but making mountains out of molehills. To work 100+hours’ a week and giving a little time to sleep and insignificant time to the loved ones, by no means assure success in any shore. If you think being busy means productivity, I am afraid you are getting it all wrong. You do yourself a favor, spare a minute to read about Warren Buffett’s ideas of being busy and being productive. I heard him saying that “I spent 80% of my career reading and thinking.” For many of us, if someone is driving Porsche, we think he must be working like a horse-cart; all days and all night, be it a rainy or sunny. But, actually, those luxury car drivers are trailblazers. Do anything, but do it like surgeons do; maximum resolutions with minimum interventions. It is not like doing actual surgery, the sole idea is – thinking. The secret is – think, explore, experience, implement, feedback, learn, and start again.

This reminds of an interesting interview. A journalist was interviewing a successful business and he asked – “Sir, what is the secret of your success?” The man said, “Two words.” The journalist then asked, “Sir, can I please ask what are those two words?” The main replied, “Right Decisions.” The journalist then asked him, “Sir, how you do always take right decisions?” The man replied, “One word.” This journalist curiously asked, “And, what is that one word, sir?” The man promptly said, “Experience.” Now, the journalist again asked, “from where did you get experience, Sir?” The man again said, “Two words.” This time, the journalist was so eager to know those two words and without wasting a minute, he said, “Sir, would you please oblige me with those two words?” The man instantly replied, “Bad Decisions.”

“We all are blessed with potentials. This word potential – at the age of 20, is a wonderful compliment and after 40, this word becomes an insult, which after 60, becomes the cruelest insult.”

Jokes apart! This is the reality and instead tying your horse to the cart, jockey him to be a horse of race-course. Smart work, Dude! I am not opposing making efforts, but you must know the direction. Working hard and working intelligent are two different things and so are the end results they are blessed with; trust me smart work really pays. Rich people are not busy, they are at smart work; hence, more productive. How to be more productive is a billion dollars’ question.

Do you know your type? There is an easy comparison between a busy and productive person. Surf around you will easily find them out. A busy person will always pretend about a mission, in real, he is like a nomad heading to nowhere. He is nothing more than an empty vessel that makes too much noise. It is okay that you have a goal of winning a gold medal, but in which activity? The busy geek will always tell you, “I am busy and I have many priorities.” What a joke. Isn’t it quite a simple logic to understand – 3 priorities are priorities, but 25 priorities mean a mess. If you love to keep options open, you are a busy person and not productive because being productive means dedication and all doors closed except one; you cannot climb Everest if you keep thinking about climbing K2 at the same time? In fact, the busy person will be the one with a consistent shortage of time whereas a productive person will make a little time for everything that is important.

A lot of time people tell me that emails keep busy and failing to revert them all affect their business. I myself being a person associated with business development receives a lot of emails. Before, I used to treat all of them on a priority basis and I always fall behind on my other scheduled priorities. But, now I have learned to deal with handy lists of priorities. Obviously, not replying business emails is a poor business ethic, but never allow others’ priorities to alters your priorities. Busy people are always busy in sorting other priorities, whereas productive people whenever check their inbox they are very much more clear about deleting, doing or deferring. Many team leaders measure hours of work and they are busy managers/team leaders. But, the productive team leaders are more concerned about output and not the hours. Busy people will keep telling how long they did something, whereas productive people will only talk about what they did.

The ground reality is, we love being busy and I feel no hesitation saying that its our culture that  has made ‘being busy’ a biggest parameter of judging someone. However, please do not misunderstood me; I am not advocating those who just want to sit idle and wait for things to happen. The whole idea is – doing things smartly, and saving more time for thinking about how you can do more things smartly. If you are still confused about who you are – a busy soul or a productive human being; watch out for results, they will make a shout for you. Instead busy doing nothing, do something.