Busy people drive me crazy. The whirlwind of their lives, at work and at home, reminds me of a hover craft or a hydrofoil boat – never touching the ground or the water. It’s as if they have permanent ADHD with no medication, and that impairment forces more and more activity just for activity’s sake. Productive people, on the other hand exude a calm determination. They seem to know “where they are going” and how they are going to get there, and their race is slow and steady, like the proverbial tortoise who wins the race. And what does winning the race look like? It looks like “results.” It’s easy to identify busy and productive people by these following 15 behaviors.


• Busy people take on any and all tasks, because they want and need to look like they always have a “job” to do. These tasks are rarely interconnected nor do they serve some larger goal. The goals are the tasks themselves.
• Productive people are selective about tasks. They have long-term plans and goals, and they select tasks that serve those plans and those goals. If the productive person decides that s/he wishes to move from a sales position to an IT position within an organization, then the tasks that are chosen will serve that goal – additional classes, exploration of methods by which salespeople can better use technology, etc.


• Busy people equate time spent with productivity. Thus, if they stay late, “push more paper,” and keep a rapid pace, they are productive
• Productive people equate results with productivity. It is never how many tasks were completed; it is always about how the tasks that were selected achieved a goal. If, for example, a company is not getting its product out to customers in a timely manner, the busy person will drop everything, run down to the loading docks, and “crack the whip” to make the warehouse people work faster. S/he may even pitch in with the truck loading as well. The productive person will study the logistics of the warehouse-to-loading and devise a better system.


• The busy person will work harder with the resources s/he has, never stopping to think if there are better resources that could be acquired and used.
• The productive person will look at current resources and try to find better ones, in order to improve task efficiency – perhaps a new software program or app.


• Busy people never say “no.” they simply take on more and more, until they are so scattered trying to do everything, that nothing is done well. They exhaust themselves in the process.
• Productive people say “no” a great deal of the time. They refuse to take their focus off of what they have prioritized as important. A busy person will drop everything when a friend calls with a request, even if it means giving up the one evening this week s/he may have to spend with family. The productive person will say “no” because that one evening is a priority.


• Busy people identify everything as a priority, so many, in fact, that they cannot keep track of or manage them. The result is that they forget things, miss appointments, and disappoint all of those people they keep saying “yes” to.
• Productive people identify far fewer priorities – no more than they can manage at one time. Thus, they do not forget things, do not miss appointments, and do not disappoint those people they said “no” to.


• Busy people are on the go until they collapse into bed at night, completely exhausted. They awake to begin the frenetic pace all over again – no overall plan – just “do.”
• Productive people plan for “down time” before bed – time to reflect on the day and to plan for tomorrow. They wake with their plans in place for the day, with a clear idea of what is to be accomplished.


• Busy people believe that multi-tasking is a great skill, and they practice it daily. What happens, ultimately, is that no one task really gets done well. Everything is either only partially poorly done.
Productive people have learned the importance of the old adage, “one potato at a time – that’s all you can plant and that’s all you can harvest.” They begin a task and focus only at it until it is completed.


• Busy people allow, and perhaps even welcome, interruptions – they take phone calls in the middle of important things; they check their email every 30 minutes; they pick up that phone every time it pings a text; and they let other people interrupt them too. Every interruption means focus is lost, and it takes time to re-focus.
• Productive people don’t allow interruptions. They check email at the end of the day; they don’t take phone calls or respond to texts; and they do not allow others to interrupt their focus.


• Busy people do not shut down their brains from the time they awake until they go to sleep at night. The problem then becomes that sleep is elusive. Lack of sleep results in poor productivity the next day.
• Productive people understand that they have to shut down down their brains for brief periods during the day – they meditate; they get some physical exercise; they watch a silly television show. These things allow more restful sleep and a more productive next day.


• Busy people see tasks and activities as “chores” to get done. They don’t enjoy, they just “do.”
• Productive people see tasks as opportunities – opportunities to get results. This is because they pick and choose and select those tasks that bring results. They enjoy what they do.


• Busy people de-value others who do not “look” and behave as they do. This is particularly true of supervisors and managers who are busy people themselves. They see the more methodical individual who may take time to think or to re-charge as unproductive.
• Productive people only judge by results and they do not micro-manage their subordinates by observing their on and off-task behaviors.


• Busy people complain about having too little time to get everything done during their waking hours. And amidst all of the complaining they take on even more tasks because they cannot say “no.” The result is more activity and no results.
• Productive people make time for those things that fit their priorities and do not engage in “time-killing” activities which, in the long-term are meaningless.


• Busy people spend a lot of time talking about how busy they are. This, of itself, is a time-waster, and is usually meant to gain sympathy or to place oneself in a martyr role. They insist that they want to change things, to be less busy, but then the next request or activity comes along, and they are “on it!”
• Productive people are actively “doing” according to their plans. They don’t talk about how hard or much they are working. They focus on the touchdown, get there, take time to enjoy that moment, and then move forward.


• Busy people keep adding “stuff” because that is their reward for all of the work they do. The harder they work and the more money they make, the more they can accumulate.
• Productive people keep subtracting stuff as they move forward. They have certain “stuff” that is important, and the rest becomes rather meaningless. As they “let go,” they experience even more freedom.

Author's Bio: 

I'm a passionate blogger and writer from Manchester, UK. I'm interested in marketing, business and self-improvement. Thus, in majority of cases I cover these topics. I want to think that I have different outlook and I write about an issue from another angle. I work at Assignment Mountain service as an editor. You can connect with me via Twitter, Facebook or Google+