One component of self-improvement that many of us want to work on is our productivity, but what happens when it feels like there's too many things to do? What if we feel busy, but we don't necessarily find ourselves productive? And what's the true difference between being busy and being productive in the first place?
To really improve yourself and your work ethic, here are the real differences that help change your mindset over work and energy.
- Long to-do lists versus short lists. For one, busy people tend to have long lists, but most of the items on that list are busy work, not tasks that are associated high-value or long-term projects. Instead, they are tasks that distract from items that need to be completed, but people might feel busy because they are working on things not necessarily pressing. In contrast, productive people write shorter lists that allow them to focus on key tasks, and teach themselves to only put tasks on their to-do lists that warrant ultimate focus and attention.
- Multi-tasking versus single-tasking. Multi-tasking sounds like a great idea, especially when you believe it will kill two birds with one stone. But task-switching is actually more distracting, and busy people tend to take more time trying to complete 2 or more different things at one than if they just stuck with one task. Productive people hone in and work only on one task at a time, or on a certain project within an allotted time: this gives them undivided attention to work, which speeds up rather than slows them down.
- Saying yes to everything or strategically. As Lisa Evans points out at Fast Company, busy people tend to say yes to many things, whether it's work-related or socially-related. This gives them a full schedule, but it doesn't always allow for them to devote enough time to various important projects or tasks. Instead, they find themselves stretched thin, which can prolong some projects. Productive people, on the other hand, strategically say yes to things that will allow them to reach their goals, or when they can give an appropriate amount of time and energy to certain projects or events.
Overall, you can revamp your productivity by thinking carefully, what will help you get on task, and what tasks are important? By being truthful about what needs to be done and concentrating on those points, you'll find yourself making more important progress. For more tips on this and related topics, visit the Productivity or Self-Improvement sections of our blog.
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