No better time than the end of the week to reflect between being busy and productive; and knowing the difference.
My mantra has been “better busy than bored” for many years now, and I now digress from it. To be busy simply means “to be occupied”, or “to have a great deal to do”, it does not equate to being productive, or a feeling of fulfilment.
The difference between want and need revealed itself in my working life not too long ago. Wanting ‘a’ and ending up with ‘b’ was exactly what I needed to teach me that some things in life are not flexible; our decisions are.
In work as in life we can give, receive and take action, and all of these are bound by decision.
I made the decision to embrace an alternative and I discovered something more rewarding. A feeling of inner peace is a strange sensation in my current industry. The value and support of my colleagues and (who I consider my) mentors helped me significantly.
Being busy, tired or bored are not badges of honour.
Being “busy” or “bored” is an unequal and impractical comparison, only that neither require intellectual fulfilment or engagement. Saying you are “so busy” is a kind of verbal sickness in my opinion; it provokes a sense of comparative suffering (or self pity) which only affects our ability to connect meaningfully with our task or occupation.
Think about what being busy and being stimulated means for you… are they the same? or are they different?
Saying “yes” to something and wanting to do something; there is a difference.
It is more important to do things meaningfully, than to do it because you said “yes”:
- Focus yourself – what are the priorities? You are enhancing your productivity by doing fewer things meaningfully. With this honesty you are respecting yourself and your colleagues.
- Remove yourself – get up and walk away from what you are doing. Invest in rest to improve the quality of your demeanour and your work. Productivity is not measured by the volume of tasks, but in the quality of what is achieved.
- Ask for help – whether you’re the intern or the CEO, the input of your colleagues, friends and network can help you re-engage with your work. While this can be the hardest thing to do; it is both priceless and free.
- Enable yourself – you can say no respectfully.
Stop saying you’re “busy” and see what happens once you start saying you’ve been productive.
There will be a difference!
Also published on LinkedIn Pulse.