“Idle hands are a playground for the

The above is a well-known old school adage
highly evident in the workplace. How many times have you heard “Always look
busy; it shows the boss that you are working” or “A clean desk means you’re not
working hard enough”?

Sure, in some ways it is good to be busy
– but it’s more effective to be productive.
So how can you tell the difference? Find out below.

Difference Between Being Busy and Being Productive

Juggles multiple things at a

This person prides themselves on being
able to handle multiple tasks at once. It’s a badge of honor that they carry around
daily and they are quick to remind or prove to co-workers just how much they
can do. The truth is the ability to work on several tasks at one time, while
seemingly impressive, can lead to burn out. Additionally, there’s the risk of the
work being completed poorly and riddled with errors.

Focuses on one or few things
at a time.  

These Homies know slow and steady wins
the race. They manage their work by breaking tasks down into steps that are
easy to complete within a reasonable amount of time. They know that giving
their attention to just a handful of tasks ensures that their work is done
carefully and cuts down on the risk of serious mistakes.

Keeps a full calendar of
events and a large posse.

These folks are always on the scene. Every
party, every networking event, every happy hour meetup, they’re front and
center. They wouldn’t dare turn down an invite, even if they would gain little
from attending. They keep a large crew of people around them who help feed
their egos or boost their sagging self-esteem.

Selective about where and with
whom they spend their time.

Homies who are productive know that time
is the ultimate precious commodity. It can’t be bought or multiplied. Therefore,
they are choosy about what and who gets their time and attention. They know that
not every event is worthy of a mention, let alone an appearance. They calculate
the pros and cons of every offer and invite and are strategic about where they
will spend their time. Their professional and social circles are small and they
value intimate connections over superficial relationships.

Strives to make time for

The to-do list of a Busy Homie is
stocked with everything they can think of to tackle: work presentations,
meetings, housework, car repair, Skyping with the bestie. They’d rather die
than not get everything done, so they attempt to do it all, all by themselves.
Cutting back or asking for help is considered a sign of weakness – and no one
respects weak people, right? Eventually, the Herculean task of keeping up with
lengthy to-do lists begin to wear them down and that superhero cape becomes

Makes time for things that are
truly important.

These Homies know that only so much can
be done from day to day. So they strive to put the most important things at the
top of their to-do list. They know that prioritization is key to keeping work
and life in balance. Many subscribe to the model of personal-family-work and
almost never deviate from that because it helps them maintain a sense of

Focuses on the work.

Busy Homies often have tunnel vision when
presented with a task. They can only see the work or challenge in front of them
and base their reactions on how best they can get through to the end. They jump
in and push forward and don’t come up for air until they’re finished. They
rarely ask for help because they either think they don’t need it or they want
all of the credit.

Focuses on the outcome.

Productive Homies know that every
project or task begins with formulating a plan that maps out how the work will
get done from beginning to end. They know that taking time to think something
through will make for a better result and fewer mistakes. They break things
down into easily attainable steps, estimate how much time each step will
consume, and consider who they can work with to help them to get to the finish
line. They know that a solid planning process makes for solid work. They have a
vision for the kind of result they wish to acquire and work toward achieving it.

Constantly seeks the
assurances and advice of others to avoid mistakes.

No one likes making mistakes, but Busy
Homie abhors them so much they do everything they can to avoid them. This includes
seeking out others’ opinions about their work and the choices they’ve made.
They second-guess themselves and their confidence often is lacking. They desire
everything to be perfect, rather than taking a risk and learn by doing.

Asks for forgiveness rather
than permission.

These Homies are doers, period. They don’t
look to others to validate them and know that getting the job done well is much
better than doing a job perfectly. They make calculated risks and, on occasion,
take a full-blown leap into the unknown to test out a hunch. They know failure
always is likely, but it doesn’t stop them. When a mistake occurs, they apologize,
do what they can to correct it, and continue to press forward.

Homies, productivity produces results while
busyness just breeds more of itself. Lean toward the former than the latter to increase
success both in and out of the office.

Until next time, hustle hard, Homies!