Don’t be busy, be productive

The term Busy is probably one of the most used words in the daily business communication routine.

“How are you keeping? Busy!”

Well! Reflecting on the usefulness of this perception, I think that it is time we should try to change our focus and verbalize our response in another way.

-How are you keeping?


But, what are the differences between the two?

What is the difference between PRODUCTIVE vs BUSY?

I think that the main difference is the consciousness, intent and planning placed on the word Productive. This is important because, as Dewight Middleton once said:

“We tend to treat labels as real, rather than as representations of reality.”

Well, interpreting this in the business environment Productive is a positive / result oriented term that changes our focus.

You can think of it as a self fulfilling prophecy, positive labelling or the first step towards shifting our mindset to be creative and do the right things first.

Becoming conscious about our actions and project delivery is a good first step towards becoming more creative and innovative. As discussed also here, innovation is a key skill for the future (read also here and here for a practical guide to innovation).

The word Busy has a fuzzy element to it.

It is like the word multitasking, another overused term that brings to mind professionals, in the form of the Indian goddess Kali, that try to answer phone calls, type emails while completing a study all at the same time (but more on this at a later post).

On the other hand, the word productive has the conscious intent build into it e.g.

Productive towards achieving what?

The great Peter Drucker explained Productivity (for knowledge workers) in this way:

“Productivity for the knowledge worker means the ability to get the right things done. It means effectiveness.” Peter Drucker – The Effective Executive

Hence, the conscious intent as implied in the word Productive is a key to increasing effectiveness.

First Actions Towards a Productive Mindset

A great way to slowly shift your mindset is to plan the week and the day with productivity and effectiveness as your primary targets.

There are various blogs dealing with this matter (a great one is but in essence, two tips make for a great start:

Plan the week ahead

Every Friday, take 15-30 minutes out – preplan some quiet time and note down the answer to the question:

What are the three most important projects I needs to progress/achieve next week?

A great blogger, Michael Hyatt, has suggested to even create an Ideal Week schedule.

Plan the day

Every morning before you turn on your computer note down the answer to the question:

What are the three tasks I must complete today?

So, how are you being productive today?

[Image credit:]

About Geovrakas
George Vrakas (MBA, CCMP, CMILT) is highly reputed in the field of services procurement and logistics and has presented on topics such as, Globalisation, Services Procurement, Leadership, Continuous Improvement and Personal Productivity at various venues and Universities in Melbourne. He has also been the host at industry events and published articles on Procurement and Contract Management at various online publications. George was a Board member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport Australia (CILT Australia) from 2011 until 2016 and also a member of the International Association for Contract & Commercial Management (IACCM). George holds an MBA from Victoria University specializing in International Supply Chain Management and Applied Economics, he is also a certified Commercial Contract Management Practitioner (CCMP), a Green Belt Lean Six Sigma expert and holds a Lloyd's Maritime Academy certificate in KPIs for Ports and Terminals. He also holds certification on variety of topics primarily relating to Contract Management, Negotiations, International Regulations, Problem Solving and Change Management.

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