Difference Between Simply Busy People and Productive People

“The whole secret of a successful life is to find out what is one’s destiny to do, and then do it.”  Henry Ford.

At the age of 12 years, Henry Ford spent his maximum time in a machine shop. His vision was to make a car of his own, practical and affordable. During his early business days, he faced consistent failures. But, his passion and determination never allowed him to dither from his objective. And then as we all know, he became one of the most successful industrialist, the founder of Ford Motor Company!

Busy vs productive

That’s how triumphing stories are created. Isn’t it apt for business models and organizations too? Inherent to their success is the utilization of productive time and resources. Each day of our lives starts with being busy, but the question is how to be productive? Some of these attributes listed in the article, contribute to productive aspects in work and in life. While what really matters at the end is success, we need to keep asking ourselves – Are we simply busy or productively busy?

How productive people are differentiated from busy people(Busy V/S Productive People)


1. Productive people have a mission which they pursue with great vigor. Busy people do not have clarity of mission.

It’s the burning passion within every individual which leads them to clear vision in life.

Michael Jordan, the famous basketball player and NBA league star, his only passion in life was to play basketball. You will be surprised to know he was taken out of his school basketball team and faced failure in more than 300 hundred games. He still emerged as a winning star as he was completely focused and clear about his vision.

Productive people have clarity of thoughts and are able to identify their objectives. Their vision along with their passion helps them pursue their mission.

Busy people sometimes tend to have multiple objectives and are unable determine their prime path, hence they lose focus.

2. Productive people set goals to achieve their target while busy people only dream.

A dream is just a dream; a goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline. Harvey Mackay.

Every bit of his quotes and writings is carved with in-depth learning and understanding. Are each step towards our dream worked upon and noted down anywhere by us?

Productivity is when people convert their dream into reality. They set across short term goals with targeted deadlines to support their long term goals.

What do the rest do? Just dream ….? Remain busy, yet fail to plan and execute.

3. Productive people manage time for things that help them reach their goal while busy people never have time.

Productive people will always find time to do things that will help them progress towards their desired destination.

“I am very busy, I don’t have time.” Pretty much common and a manipulative fruitless statement. Very often we hear busy people giving such fake statement, as they get involved in many unwanted tasks.

4. Productive people focus their energy on what is important while busy people while away their time.

“Short as life is, we make it still shorter by the careless waste of time.” – Victor Hugo.

The Pareto Principle says 80% of result comes from 20% of activities. A very clear, simple and highly effective principle followed by many successful business tycoons.

This 20% is what productive people focus on and phase out all the tasks that don’t lead them towards their goal. Getting involved in multiple activities which have low value addition keeps oneself busy but is a sheer waste of precious time.

5. Productive people realize the importance of effective communication while busy people do not.

Your communication plan should reflect your immediate strategies based on your long term and short term goals. To prioritize and implement your plan into action, effective communication is needed.

Timely and well informed communication helps productive people in strategic planning to reach their milestones.

Generally being busy at work, busy people land up plucking only ‘low hanging fruit‘ due to improper communication and plunge into action without strategic planning.

6. Productive people are always doing something meaningful instead of just doing something to remain busy.

Busy people believe in the dictum that ‘doing something better than doing nothing‘.

However, this philosophy doesn’t work for productive people. A productive person will avoid doing anything that is non-productive rather than just doing something.

Busy and productive people difference- Infographic

7.  Productive people make effective utilization of their energy and resources. Busy people exhaust themselves in less important tasks.

If you do not use your car battery judiciously, what will happen?

You will get stranded on the roads. Simple isn’t it?

One needs to channelize the energies in a very productive way to yield better results. But people generally tend to exhaust their energy in so called important tasks.

Effective usage of resources, in day to day business environment is an essential requirement for business sustainability and growth.

8. Productive people do not get carried away by distractions. Busy people lose focus soon.

We need to mind the “ I ” and “ D ” in our IDs

I – Interruptions and

D – Distractions

These two monkeys, we carry along in our life baggage.

100 % focus and attentiveness is not possible for anyone. Efficient people know how to deal with these two monkeys effectively to be productive. It takes skills and focus to produce good quality of work as distraction can erode your ability to stay focused and result in poor performances.

This could be hazardous in your work environment, and you will soon land up doing other’s task digressing from your own priorities.

Busy people get swayed with distractions. They even assume themselves to be busy as they while away their time doing things that are least important for their goals.

9. Productive people do not delete or defer. Busy people often procrastinate important tasks.

Productive people do things that are going to help them reach their objective. Delete all that is not required and defer things that are not important at this junction.

Busy people do not learn the art of saying “No”.

10. Productive people are result oriented while busy people are process oriented. 

Our mind needs to be trained on process oriented and result orient work.

Productive people talk about their results and learn from past achievement and ponder onto their future path.

Busy people many a times get disoriented on wishful thoughts and hence digress from their goal.

11. Productive people believe in “I grow. You grow. And the organization grows”. Busy people are more focused on their personal growth.

When we implement a strategy and work with team spirit, we emerge as winner.

Productive people understand this fact and are willing to help others so that the organization achieves its goal. They also do not hesitate to ask for help when needed.

Busy people keep busy in their own business and shy away from helping others or asking for help.

12. Productive people take responsibility of their action while busy people look to blame others.

The buck stops at ME only.” We all know this. Where does this attitude come from?

Productive people have high degree of self belief and trust and don’t look for excuses when they fail and usually find a way out. Therefore productive people create positive environment in an organization.

But busy people usually look for scapegoats or escape routes in the time of crisis and failures.

Proficiency comes when you have a mission in your life, Michael Beckwith once said, “You can start with nothing, and out of nothing and out of no way, a way will be made.” This is what the wild goose chase is all about be it personal or professional.

Every morning, at the start of the day, we need to remind ourselves that today has to be a constructive and productive day. So don’t just walk the path of what comes in stride, become proactive.

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