Active vs. productive. Which one are you?

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Hugh Connelly, the president of Univest Capital said, “In my mind activity can, but does not always, result in productivity. Being active is getting things done; being productive is getting the right things done.”

Unfortunately, almost always people confuse activity with productivity. When in fact two things are poles apart. Even in offices, people who appear to be busy, are rewarded with accolades. Which is why soon everyone starts putting up this facade of appearing to look busy by staring at their screen and give the impression of working hard. But, is being busy and being productive the same thing?

Keep reading to find out. Also, take a look at what separates productive people from busy folks -

  • Busy people care about quantity. Productive ones care about quality

A telecaller is able to convert only one or two customers out of a hundred calls he/she makes. On the surface that person may look like the most active employee. Then there may be someone who is able to convert at least one person out of ten. Now that’s a productive person! People who seem occupied may not necessarily be concerned about the quality of work. For them staying occupied is their biggest priority. But for productive people — prime focus is generating quality output.

  • Productive people are meticulous planners. Busy people are not big on planning

For productive people, clarity of action is paramount. Unless they are one hundred percent sure about what they’re supposed to do, they won’t get started. They will put as much time meticulously planning and understanding things as they can. This is what enables them to get a job done most effortlessly. Active people on the other hand, are not big believers in planning. For them, jumping right into the action mode is most crucial thing.

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  • Busy people judge you by the hours you spend. Productive people judge you by the end result

The way busy people judge others is by how much time they are spending staring at the screen. For them, the busier you seem, more output you are generating. These people appreciate others for their actions; not necessarily for the end result. Productive people on the other hand appreciate quality of work. They don’t care about how much time you’re taking to do a job. As long as you’re delivering quality work, they are happy.

  • Active people talk about how busy they are. Productive ones let their results do the talking

Busy people feel that the only way to make a positive impression is by showing off just how occupied they are. That they have no time for anything else. Productive people, on the other hand, are not big believers in words. They let their results do the talking. Their work speaks on their behalf.

  • Busy people are best suited for mechanical jobs. Productive people are meant for creative jobs

The former should do the kind of job that doesn’t require a lot of innovative thinking. Any job that involves creativity and outside-of-the-box thinking is best suited for productive people. Because innovation requires thinking, and thinking is not something that most people associate with activity. These people may look like they’re not doing anything. But if you scratch the surface, you will see they are the ones who bring forth the biggest breakthrough ideas.

  • Busy people try to feel productive. Productive people actually try to be productive

Feeling and being are two different things. Busy individuals trick their mind into thinking they are generating more output. To achieve that effect, they will keep themselves occupied. That may not always necessarily translate into creativity. Productive people, are the ones who try to be productive. For example, your brain will think you are very productive even when you do household chores, because you are busy at that time. But, thinking of innovative ways to pool in more customers is not a task that will appear to be very productive, even when efforts are involved.

  • Active people have several priorities. Productive people have only few

The latter is the creed of professionals who stick religiously to The Pareto Principle. They work by recognizing the key performance areas (the 20% work area) that needs maximum attention and then make it their priority. But for busy people, everything is a priority. And you know what they say — ‘When you have three priorities, you have priorities. But, if you have 25 of them, you have a mess’.

  • Active people are hard workers. Productive people are smart workers.

Bill Gates said, “I will always choose a lazy person to do a difficult job. Because, he will find an easy way to do it”. People who generate quality output tread with a smart work approach. But busy people are advocates of hard work approach. The former will always strive to come up with a smart way to achieve a goal than the latter who are more concerned about putting hard work.

Being active is not necessarily being productive. Sometimes it can even mean the opposite. After reading this post, you will definitely find yourself resonating with some points. Find out which ones match your traits to determine your work personality.

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Chief Marketing Officer@ProofHub. Featured writer on LinkedIn. Contributor at Elearning Industry, Dzone, Your Story and

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