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Busy versus Productive

I frequently hear people talk about being so busy. I hear it at work, standing in line at the grocery store, on television, at the gym, on the radio, eating lunch at a restaurant, almost everywhere. And- yes- I too have said it…A LOT!!!

It had me thinking…what is busy, what does it really mean, what does it really signify, what does it represent to me and to other people?

A hamster running on a wheel is busy. The hamster is constantly going, moving and doing something. However, the hamster is going nowhere and not really accomplishing anything. So, I would say the hamster is busy; however, the hamster is not productive. Now, think about a rat running through a maze. This rat has a goal to accomplish-he is not just running to spin a wheel; rather, he is running to an end get out of the maze. The rat is productive, as opposed to just busy.

Think about jumping jacks versus running or walking. When you are doing jumping jacks you are busy, but you are not working toward an end goal or destination. When you walk or run somewhere, you have intent, purpose, and an end get to your destination...that is productive. It is not just being busy jumping in the same spot looking like you are doing something.

Let’s briefly breakdown busy versus productive…


  • Busy tends to provide a sense of significance

  • It’s a badge of honor

  • False belief that busy=worth

  • Busy does not mean you are finishing your goals or that you even worked on your goals

  • Busy does not mean you did what you said you would do for others

  • Busy does not mean you accomplish what you hope to accomplish

Ultimately, busy means just that…you are just busy! Where is the sense of accomplishment or value in that or boost to your self-worth?


  • Effective

  • Focused

  • Reach goals

  • Creative

  • Purposeful/Intentional

  • Driven

  • Taking action- Make true changes

  • Happy

  • Fulfill and complete things because this creates a sense of accomplishment, not just another task crossed off the to-do list.

Being productive does not happen by chance or accident… it happens by conscious choice! Productivity is not about getting a ton of stuff done; rather, it is getting the most meaningful tasks accomplished, while doing so with purpose, patience, focus, intent, and excitement.

Now, that makes me feel great about myself and my worth. That makes me feel like I have something to offer myself, as well as others.

What can you do to ensure you are productive in your life, rather than just busy, all of the time?

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